Finding community amidst COVID19

These are disorienting times. All of our routines and ways of interacting with the world have been thrown up in the air, with the world’s longest pause, and we’re not sure where things will land. I am scared and anxious.

And yet! (Isn’t there always an “an yet”?)

In this time of vulnerability, there is also tremendous beauty and grace. I find myself collecting things that provide distraction, laughter, and hope. That’s what this is — a set of things that have made me smile.

Dear Rhode Island, how do I survive physical-distancing? 

The amazing Rhode Tours, “a statewide mobile historical smartphone application” that dives into 30 unique areas of Rhode Island history, from the Dorr Rebellion to Orphanages, Asylums, and Almshouses, to Taverns to Temperance. Explore at your own pace, from the comfort of home or out in the world. 

Perhaps you, like me, can’t take your eyes off the Audubon Providence Peregrine Cam, perched high atop the Superman Building.

Self-guided historic walking tours (including my favorite on Early Black History in Providence), thanks to Go Providence.

Self-guided tours of Providence’s amazing public art, courtesy of The Avenue Project.

My beloved Roger Williams Park offers walking trails and self-guided tours of notable trees, statues, and buildings.

Rhode Island’s wildlife refuges, via the Audubon Society.

For fans of local music, the Columbus Theatre has put together a list of local musicians who could use support right now. (Bandcamp is waiving all of their fees so 100% of your purchase will go directly to the musicians. )

People and organizations going above and beyond

Providence Community Library has a great listing of live streaming art and performances for kids, like Valerie Tutson is telling stories daily and Ricky Rainbow Beard reading stories nightly, both on Facebook.

The Tomaquag Museum did a virtual book talk on Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments & Regaining Health with Elizabeth Hoover, PhD, for its Native Women Author Series.

Young artist Amelia Ross (full disclosure: I’m a fan) has released her original song Coronacation. Buy it for just $3; proceeds benefit local artists.

The Wilbury Theatre is livestreaming performances.

The United Theatre in Westerly is doing a daily podcast, Cabin Fever Curation

Lots of restaurants are hurting right now, and some are trying new things to keep serving. (More on that below). I really appreciated these thoughtful posts from the owner of North Restaurant on why they first closed and then reopened for takeout.

What Cheer Flower Farm is sharing the cheer with a virtual little bouquet exchange.


Eat Drink RI has curated a listing of Rhode Island food businesses offering online ordering and takeout, another with local food businesses offering products for sale online, and an update on local breweries.

Hope & Main is organizing its food business members for What’s Local Wednesdays.

More restaurants from the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Rhode Island Chamber.

Providence Monthly is updating its Small Biz Bulletin daily.

Personal coping mechanisms

The most brilliant thing ever: library background noise from the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. 

History nerds, check out the 1865 podcast, an audio drama follow Lincoln’s assassination. You might say, like I said a few weeks ago, Audio drama? Pschaw, I am not 150 years old. But this one is incredibly well done and available in bite-size episodes. Plus, Jeremy Schwartz as Edwin Stanton, goddamnit. 

Poetry. First, live reading by my brilliant friend Mary-Kim Arnold. Second, Lockdown, by Brother Richard Hendrick. Third, Our Real Work by Wendell Berry. Fourth, search #InternationalPoetryCircle on Twitter.

Just for fun!