HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS (Emily Dickinson)
The pandemic has profoundly changed our lives; in response, I resolved to express—cartographically, of course—how my own life has changed.
The result is this round map. My apartment in New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood is dead center, from which radiate my walking routes and destinations--many of them closed as we began sheltering in place. Surrounding the map is a crown-like frame (a corona) evoking the Covid-19 cross-section diagrams we’ve all seen. The circle-in-a-square composition provided an opportunity to depict dawn (above) and dusk (below) as they appear from my east-facing livingroom windows. On the corona perches a Yellow-throated Vireo, one of our local songbirds. For many of us, the natural world has taken on new meaning and conveys respite and hope—hence the map’s title, “Hope is the thing with feathers,” from an Emily Dickinson poem of the same name. The colors in the map reflect my interest in the jewel-like palette of late medieval illuminated manuscripts.
Every map is a snapshot in time. This one is deliberately time-stamped: In the left border I recorded the New Haven coronavirus confirmed cases and deaths for May 1, 2020.
The map is featured in CityLab’s ongoing project Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown.