One Shot at a Time – "CV-19: A blessing in disguise"

Zach Miners self portrait

A self-portrait taken in May near my parents’ house, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. (Zach Miners photo)

Zach Miners,

It was March 18, and my dad and I were about halfway done packing up my apartment in San Francisco, as I prepared to move here for a photography job at the Glenrock Independent. The new opportunity excited me, but I had begun to feel uncertain about the future.


Just days prior, San Francisco had issued a shelter-in-place order. The entire state had ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses, filling my head with questions.


Did this mean I was not allowed to drive more than 1,000 miles east, to Douglas? Would we still have the Penske truck reservation, to transport all my things?


As I taped shut another cardboard box, I received a call from the publisher, who had some unfortunate news: He could no longer offer me the position, due to the combined economic impact of the coronavirus and the oil bust.


I was crushed. But I understood.


I had already terminated my lease and was otherwise unemployed. San Francisco was in the midst of a shutdown. With these factors in mind, I decided to drive cross-country with my dad to stay at my parents’ house in North Carolina, as the outbreak began to ravage the country and much of the world.


We still had the Penske reservation, because the company was considered an essential business. We were able to book new hotel rooms for the extended road trip, which we fastidiously sanitized upon arriving at each.


I did not realize it at the time, but this turn of events would prove to be an immensely positive experience for me.


During the nearly eight years I lived in San Francisco, I had not spent a great deal of time with my family, as I typically only saw my parents and two sisters a few times per year, during major holidays or other brief visits.


Now, I found myself in my parents’ house, sleeping in my childhood bed, trading views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito for views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the stars above.


I ended up staying with my parents for three months, until I moved here when the job offer was re-extended. During those three months, we ate dinner together every night. I enjoyed Easter weekend with my mom, dad and family dog, Rufio, for the first time in years. We went on numerous hikes in the mountains with Rufio, near my parents’ house. We went grocery shopping together, wearing masks. I re-kindled my bond with my sister in Brooklyn, who also temporarily moved in with my parents as the virus took hold of New York City.


In June, we took a weekend road trip to my sister and brother-in-law’s new house in Atlanta, which I had not set foot in since they bought it.


And, on May 25, my parents, sister and I went to the emergency animal hospital and put down Rufio, nearly 13 years old, who suddenly succumbed to cancer. As heartbreaking as Rufio’s death was, it would have been even harder to endure if I had not been there. Had it not been for the virus, I would not have been present for these experiences.


I do not mean to belittle how the pandemic has uprooted other people’s lives, especially in more tragic ways than it has affected mine. But I will always be grateful for the time it gave me with my family. I was also able to create some terrific quarantine photographs.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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