Photo: Cindy Brandle at Battery Park City

A few months ago, as I was on a morning walk with my dog, the fog was so thick I could barely see the Statue of Liberty. There were, however, traces showing the outline of the iconic figure, and it sparked the idea that a glimmer of hope is sometimes all we need to get us through. You can’t always see it clearly, but you can feel optimistic when there is a faint hint.

Today, however, as the heavy, dense fog rolled in across the Hudson River, I began to delve deeply into the fog of my own life and the even more extreme world events. There was no hint of the statue, no glimmer, no edges this time. It was as if it had disappeared. 

In just the past two years and all that has transpired, I wonder how we could possibly dig ourselves out. Have we gone too far? Just as the Statue of Liberty was completely hidden, I fear so is humanity. At the pandemic’s start, I remember thinking how this could be the event that might bring us all together. We would do what we could to help each other, provide comfort to those in need, and protect one another. It was beyond my comprehension that this could have brought about a division so vast that it feels irreparable.  

As we try to navigate our way through the haze of the pandemic, we have also seen injustices to those in the BIOPOC community, hate crimes, and police brutality. The reported criminal activity seems to have escalated though I realize there have always been criminals; the acts have become more heinous and horrific. And then there is a war—a murderous dictator going full throttle as the whole world watches. Shockingly the same people who are anti-mask, anti-vaccine seem to be the ones who are somehow on the side of Putin. I am baffled. It makes no sense. And even while it seems impossible, that vast division has grown even more expansive.

 As I sat, safely tucked into my lovely, well-appointed apartment, reading about the horrors of the world, both close by and far from home, I began to think of a performance I created called “A World On Fire” in 2019. Naively I believed that our troubles would somehow start to dissipate, and surely we would all see the light, douse the fire, make some changes and come back together as a society. Little did I know we would be hit with a global pandemic that would throw humanity into disarray as we threw gasoline on the flames. 

So now, as the fire grows and the fog thickens, I find myself wondering…When there is no glimmer of hope…how can you possibly hang on to it?   

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