Crashing waves and a Barbadian night make for beautifully calming photos in the world’s COVID storm

COVID disrupted and dislodged our lives in so many ways. From where we call home to the way we shop to the way we evaluate risk. Life is a new reality of endlessly evolving choices that often seem dire. For me, the ground beneath my feet feels unstable like the game I play with my daughter “The Floor is Lava”. While “The Floor Is Lava” music plays, you dance around. When it stops, it becomes a screeching alarm and you freeze.

There’s something simple and definitive about the game’s rules and so much more concrete than our current reality. Its guideposts are fixed and easily followed. Nothing like the ever-changing COVID dance we endure daily.

For my myself and my family, the biggest change in our lives has been the semi-temporary relocation to the Caribbean. We migrated from New York in October 2020. After spending nearly 8-months in Barbados, we decided to extend our stay for another year.

Our daughter will start kindergarten in an outdoors-style school set on a bucolic biodynamic farm. We have an apartment near the beach and are learning to surf the island’s perfect waves.

Creatively, I’ve documented the island’s texture: both tropical and gritty. On a recent assignment for Nature magazine documenting Barbados’s nesting sea turtles (the story hasn’t been published yet; I will share those images as soon as it has) I took a quiet moment to capture waves crashing on Brandon’s (aka Drill Hall) Beach.

The south-coast beach is one of Barbados’s top surf spots and a primordial destination for green and hawksbill sea turtles.

During my assignment, we documented seven turtles in various stages of egg laying. We were careful not to disrupt the process.

Propelled by an evolutionary drive, the entranced turtles laid eggs while we watched in awe. Part of me was jealous at their singular existential focus and success in following its arc.

As a person, the struggle to achieve a similar focus has been challenging and beneficial when trying to navigate our COVID reality.

COVID has certainly shattered so many people’s plans and paths – perhaps for the better. Yet if there is something we can take away from our shared experience as humans and even the sea turtles, it is the necessity to be present, look around, behind, as we navigate the crashing waves around us.

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