My break before my last semester here at Marywood began sooner than I had anticipated. Over the summer I visited the studio, masked with campus safety, to find a capsule of life before Covid. Every item was exactly where I left it to be picked up again after spring break. Dust had accumulated over my glass and papers, thrusting me into facing the surreality of my visit. Despite being surrounded by essential workers, being one myself, and even sewing masks, this was one of the most poignant moments I experienced during the pandemic. I stood face to face with the before and after of my own life in the dust that settled while I was gone.
The goal of my visit was to retrieve my stained glass project that had been placed on an unprecedented pause. For whatever reason, I fixated on finishing this piece as the key to pulling myself of the slump I was stuck in. I needed to finished what I had started. I needed to make something, anything, out of the chaos we were all swept into.
Events like this put immense pressure on relationships. As many of my relationships faced strain, my silver lining came when I reconnected with my closest friend. We held fast to one another and adopted our motto “whatever you’ve got, I’ve got” and ventured forward to create our own space. We inherited her grandfathers shed, where he had once done stained glass as well. We cleared decades of clutter away and invested in our own tools to start up a studio, where we subsequently spent every moment we could.
Wrapping all of my finished projects in obituaries to move back to Scranton was unnerving. It was heart wrenching to separate tools and glass we shared for months which felt like years in the pressure cooker of a summer it has been. She decided to defer while I am going back to finish my last semester. Both of us stare down total darkness detached from our anchor found in our little shed.
Reflecting on it now, I wasn’t sure why glass was the main medium I felt drawn to work with in the face of such bewildering uncertainty. But it allowed me to break something. Snap a perfect sheet of glass into pieces, then arrange them again into something new. I’m in a very similar situation now, facing my future.