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Snapshots of an Extraordinary Moment in Time


At 3 a.m. from my bathroom window the call of an owl breaking the night’s silence. —Leota Fulkerson, 65, South Thomaston, Maine

Last week, I suggested keeping a log book, a low-key journal where you note the mundane things that happen in a day, to keep a record of moments you’re likely to forget. I like how one log-keeper, Anna Shutley, 21, of Winston-Salem, N.C., makes the case for writing down the minutiae: “Our lives are filled with a couple of Big Unforgettable Days and everything else — all those middle random Tuesdays that we take for granted and don’t tend to look forward to — are the bulk of our lives.” Those “middle random Tuesdays” are the ones we so often forget to document.

Many of you agreed, and we received hundreds of emails containing your log book entries, each note a snapshot of a life, fascinating on its own. If you read the entries alongside the others, the effect is dazzling: the atomic observations; the scraps of joy and anxiety; the wonder, fear and optimism combined. Taken together, they create a collaborative almanac of an extraordinary moment in time. Have a look. (The responses have been edited for clarity.)

Today at work I saw the tiniest frog. It was the size of my thumbnail. I harvested sweet potatoes for the first time. Rella Arena, 27, Atlanta

Met a new woman in my neighborhood today for a walk in the park. We had connected when I reached out on Nextdoor.com about finding partners to work out with in the park. Paid my Gap credit card. I’m at silver card status. Annie Sandford, 33, Chicago

Went to market around noon with my wife of 55 years and got some needed items because we don’t want to run out of turkey bacon, cookies, blueberries and dark chocolate Kit Kat bars. We wore our masks. Jim Devore, 76, Durham, N.C.

My husband brought home a cup of coffee and bouquet of flowers “just because” first thing this morning. Later in the day gifted me the Dia de Muertos Barbie. Priscilla Espinoza, 38, San Marcos, Texas

I took out the trash in my puffy coat and snow boots. There is still over 6 inches of melting snow on my back porch and picnic table from the massive freak snowstorm we received this week. Andrea Kurth, 28, Leadville, Colo.

Up at 4 a.m. gathering items to put by the door just in case we had to evacuate: Passports, birth certificates, house papers, a briefcase full of Sheila’s poetry (not yet scanned), cat supplies, wallet, reading glasses, sunglasses, bag of prescriptions. Sheryl Murray, 52, Portland, Ore.

We followed up on scheduling doctor appointments, one of which is Jordan’s first visit in an adult primary care office. I looked up new ingredients for dog food recipes. Marcella Rominiecki-Santana, 49, Philadelphia

Today I went in an elevator for the first time since March 11, 2020. Coming back down, I took the stairs instead. Amy Fisher, 47, Toronto

FOGGY, FOGGY, FOGGY. Frankie Colton, 76, Sanford, Colo.

Reading the submissions, I was reminded of the heartbreaking economy of “Beautiful Blueberries,” the final written entry in the diary of the hiker Chris McCandless, the subject of “Into the Wild.”

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