Living and Partly living…During the Pandemic

Photo taken at Tommy Thompson Park, looking back to the city of Toronto

“Yet we have gone on living, Living and partly living,” say the chorus of Canterbury women in T. S. Elliot’s play Murder in the Cathedral. We, too, can say that we are living and partly living at this time.

The city of Toronto is once again on lockdown. It’s a confusing time. People are having a hard time interpreting the basic message of “stay home.” There’s a long list of exemptions as to when you can go out but it’s all open to interpretation and how will all this be enforced?

We have been living and partly living since March of 2020. For those of us who have complied and stayed home all these months, it’s disheartening to see that our efforts have not made a difference. The virus rages on, it has even mutated. The hope of a vaccine is a not-too-hopeful hope. We can see that it will take a while for a worldwide vaccination plan to kick in and really make a difference.

We are living and partly living, trying to be positive, to be creative, and to keep in touch with others in the hope of offering them encouragement and community. It’s all we can do from the isolation of our homes but, the longer this lasts, we will become wearied and fatigued. It will be harder to sustain positive thoughts, emotions, and attitudes to help us get through the pandemic until it will, inevitably, end. Until then, we will continue to live and to partly live.

I haven’t walked the city for nearly a year. I live and don’t live in the city, so it feels. I stay in my neighbourhood and only go beyond it once a week to deliver groceries to my mother who lives on the opposite end of the city. The drive there allows me to see a bit of the city but it’s not a city I engage with any more. I see it and I don’t.

I never fully realized how good it was to have the freedom of walking and meandering through its many neighbourhoods, meeting friends at coffee shops and restaurants, going for a movie or a concert. City life full of people in close proximity sharing in the experiences of living and enjoying each other’s company in the texture and setting of physical spaces.  We now partly live and the city is only in my memories of the life I had before the pandemic.

I thought to post some photographs of my city, Toronto. I rarely take photographs that include people. I deliberately wait for them to be out of the way before taking my pictures, but now I wish I had more images of people interacting and occupying the space that is the city.

I have hope that there will be another time when I’ll be free to wonder the streets again. Until then I look at photos. Living and partly living… and waiting.

About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Living and Partly living…During the Pandemic

  1. ilda says:

    Hi Emanuel, great photos as usual! I agree with your comments but being one of those who did NOT lose my health, business, my job, my apartment or home, or the contact with vulnerable loved ones such as aging parents and grandchildren, I can only be grateful for being able to appreciate the silver lining of the pandemic: that is showed us all that is wrong with our social system, and how precious normal routine was…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathie B says:

    “We are […] trying to be positive, to be creative…”

    Oh Emanuel, I feel for folks for whom this is a new routine, because I had to make that adjustment permanently since my illness years ago, getting out only when essential for my career.

    But from a glass-half-full perspective, an advantage to my situation has been that at least I knew how to cope when the lockdown began last March. And I’ve gotten lots of writing and translating accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Olá Emanuel.
    Muita força, por aqui, também voltamos a entrar em confinamento. Espero que seja para melhorar situação.
    As fotos estão incríveis!
    Um abraço

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love these photos. I am missing downtown Toronto. Haven’t been on campus in months, the longest absence in more than 34 years+. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emanuel, olho para as tuas fotos de Toronto e maravilho-me uma vez mais com o teu olhar. Encontras beleza na arquitetura da cidade moderna e ousada, ela existe na verdade, mas há quem não consiga ver.
    Lidar com confinamento vai ser necessariamente diferente para cada um de nós. Há dias muito difíceis, mas a maior parte do tempo é tudo uma questão de pensar bem na minha situação privilegiada com tantos livros para ler…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dawn Wink says:

    Emanuel, you describe where we find ourselves with the pandemic perfectly. Yes, so discouraging for those of us who have been living by the guidelines these many months. Thank you for giving voice to this experience.

    I lived in Toronto for three months about 20 years ago. Lovely to see the city again through your beautiful photos. Thanks ever so much for the travel trip to Canada!

    Beautiful, all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very thoughtful post and great images which I appreciate. Thank you Emanuel.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s