Karoline M. - Masked Portrait

This photo was taken on the grounds of the Iowa State Capitol building. The grounds had become almost an unconscious destination on many of the evening walks I took as a break to get away from my apartment after long days of working from home and feeling the stress of so much uncertainty in my personal and professional life. Colleagues across my industry including close teammates had lost their jobs, we were trying to recalibrate and plan while the sand was still shifting under our feet, and as someone who lives alone, my daily interactions with friends and family alike were almost exclusively now through a phone or a screen. Pulling on sneakers at the end of the day and pounding the pavement with a podcast in my ears became a way to re-center and decompress, even if just for an hour.

I sometimes thought about the irony that the Capitol grounds had become a place of solace for me, when I disagreed with many of the decisions being made by our state leaders whom I felt were prioritizing partisanship over public health. But on my walks, it wasn’t about that. Instead, it was about the green space, the tree-lined pathways, and the view from the top of the hill when I looked back over the city. It was about remembering that I was here and breathing and doing my part, and that like generations of Iowans prior, we too would endure what history had laid before us.