A False Start to a New Beginning

By Carolyn Rhinebarger | August 19, 2021

New Beginnings is a work I painted last December, just as news of vaccine approvals was making headlines. It depicts that celestial moment when daybreak begins but the night sky is still above us. For me, it felt like the dawn of a new time for the world. The dark specter of the pandemic still hovered over us, but relief was coming.


Carolyn Rhinebarger, New Beginning, acrylic on canvas, 36″x48″ (2020)


The quiet start of 2021 was filled with the hope of a return to normalcy. A chance to heal from all the losses and plan for a fearless future. I couldn’t wait to make my appointment to receive the vaccine. And when I got it, I cried. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed with the feeling of liberation from the constant anxiety I’d been trying to manage.

My confidence returned. And I returned, going back to a few of my pre-pandemic pleasures. I took spin classes again. I ate in a restaurant. I shopped for plants in our local garden center without a mask. I talked to neighbors in person and even took a trip to the beach. Life as I knew it was returning.

But fast forward to today and the news is filled, yet again, with case counts, testing numbers, mask policies and hospitals at the breaking point with new Covid patients. Even those of us who did our part to stop the pandemic by getting vaccinated are in danger again. Honestly, it feels so unfair. I happily took a small risk of side effects if it meant contributing to the safety of everyone else.

Enough about freedom, independence, and the right to choose. This is a deadly virus. It is sickening people at a rate faster than we have seen yet. Until every eligible person in America steps up, does their duty, acts brave, and get their vaccination, the rest of us are forced to return to isolation, fear and protective measures, waiting impatiently for the next New Beginning.


Copyright © 2021 Carolyn Rhinebarger
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