lynette m.f. bosch, ph.d.

SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Geneseo

day 6 - stay home, stay safe

On Day 6 (Stay Home, Stay Safe), the reality of lockdown and of needing to remain safe from Covid began to change how everyone thought about the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces. Staying safe involved specific practices that became ritualistic for everyone – the wearing of masks, the washing of hands, the use of substances to fumigate, as though the whole world were engaged in a new and mysterious liturgy of safety that could perhaps keep sickness and death away. The world needed to do the impossible – to stay safe in a time of plague. 

For Geandy that sense of reaching for safety was expressed as Imara standing in a window, holding a St. Jude candle, St. Jude being the patron saint of impossible causes and the performer of unexpected miracles. The candle Imara holds is a familiar household item for Cubans and for Latin Americans, who light candles to the Catholic Church’s St. Jude and, in a parallel context, honor him through Santería, the African religion brought to the Americans by slaves, which became blended with Catholicism into a syncretic hybrid religious system of belief and practice. For safety from Covid, Imara lights a candle to St. Jude, who can grant miracles of preservation – a candle that links Europe and Africa in shared beliefs in Divine Providence.

Covid can be held off in more pragmatic ways and on Day 36 (Quarantine: Six Feet), Geandy and Imara enacted the rule of Social Distance – 6 feet of separation. “Better six feet apart than six feet under” being the rubric of life in a time of Covid. 

day 36 - quarantine: six feet