Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Solace in Suburbia

Entrance to our neighbor Curtis Fesser’s backyard, landscaping and creating art are his favorite hobbies, April 20, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Thinking of Texas, no one would imagine the beautiful, lush, green, jungle-like landscape around my parents’ neighborhood in Dallas.

Social distancing and self-isolation haven’t been easy for anyone. And depending on where you are and what your circumstances are, this situation can be much harder and take a much greater toll on peoples’ lives.

I consider myself very lucky and am not taking any of the comforts I’ve been allowed to enjoy for granted.

Enjoying the hidden backyard sanctuaries around our house and going on my daily walks through our typically suburban neighborhood helped me keep my sanity and find solace.

Distantly waving and shouting “Hi” and “Good Morning” to other people walking their dogs around the neighborhood, has made me feel less isolated and gives me a sense of unity – a sense of “we’re all in this together.”

The silver lining to all this is that in being “forced” to slow down and discover the hidden treasures and normally unnoticed details around me.

Vicky, my stepmother, smells a rose in our neighbor Fesser’s backyard, April 20, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Every day I walk one to one and a half hours through our neighborhood. East Dallas, Texas, April 23, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Wooden buddha statue surrounded by mini buddha heads in our neighbor Fesser’s backyard, April 27, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Early morning, my neighbor’s property, April 23, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

A rare moment to seeing so many people out during lockdown, March 31, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Vicky, my stepmother, keeps her mask on after returning from the supermarket to help with the pollen in the air, April 10, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer


The neighborhood has a mix of classic suburban and mid-century modern homes, April 23, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

As spring begins, bees are also starting to pollinate, April 20, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

Our yorkie-poodle mix Lola sits in the car as my father, Dieter, approaches to wave us goodbye, March 27, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer


A cactus flower in our yard after a morning rain, April 19, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

In a recent storm, the trunk of this tree cracked, but it still continues to grow, April 25, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

A pair of abandoned shoes I encountered during one of my walks, April 8, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

A wild peacock peeks into the window beside our front door, April 3, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

A woman in the neighborhood listens to music while pulling weeds in front of her house, April 6, 2020. Photo by Susanne Schweitzer

This is a project of  Lori Grinker’s  NYU graduate photojournalism class.


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