Just Another Corona Sunrise?
It feels like things are changing just as quickly coming out of the pandemic as they did going into it. And that gives me hope
I have always been more of a sunset than a sunrise person since I’m not usually awake early enough to see the sunrise.
But since the end of March, I have been waking up to texts from my daughter with photos of a beautiful sunrise over the tennis courts at her university, taken at early morning practice.
Is this post-pandemic optimism?
After months of assuming that spring sports would be canceled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic, my daughter’s college and athletic league gave the green light to competition. The student-athletes were overjoyed — they could not wait to get out there and compete, after a year hiatus. Her team, undefeated and fueled by excitement, appreciation, and hard work, will soon head to their conference championship.
The first week in April, my son’s university announced an actual in-person graduation for the Class of 2021, something that seemed impossible just a few months ago. The seniors, like my son, were elated. Their parents, like me, felt as though we had won the lottery.
How interesting that we are celebrating things that in our pre-pandemic world, were just expected.
The sunrise photos from my daughter have been reminding me that we are finally moving ahead into a new season.
Where I live in the Northeast, there are times in the depth of winter when it seems the cold, the days of bundling up in a million layers, and the constant gray dreariness will never end. It felt like that with the pandemic too.
Spring is in the air and in my step
But as it happens every year, suddenly, one morning, usually in late March, the chill in the air is gone. Tiny buds of pale green appear on the trees. Magnolias, daffodils, and tulips begin to bloom, birds signal their return from wherever they spent the winter.
My daughter’s college announced spring intercollegiate athletic competition. My son’s college announced an in-person graduation. We are all now seeing light after so much darkness.
Things are changing so quickly — just as they did last spring — but this time in the right direction. More people are getting vaccinated every day. Indoor dining and group exercise classes, which have been closed in my city, have reopened. The CDC announced we can take off our masks outdoors. My husband and I recently returned from visiting our daughter at college. The city near her school, which was eerily quiet at move-in last August, was now bustling with life. My city will reopen July 1st, the mayor announced. Capacity restrictions in my state will be lifted as soon as May 19th, the governor just announced.
The sky is no longer gray, but most days a dazzling blue. It feels like we are on the front steps of a new beginning. We are more than ready. But will things that felt normal in our pre-pandemic lives now feel strange?
A group of moms of my son’s fraternity brothers has been hard at work planning an outdoor graduation celebration for the boys and their families. I am excited, yet at the same time, it’s hard to grasp how it will feel to participate in a large social gathering after a year of seeing only one or two close friends at a time.
I recently ate dinner at a restaurant indoors for the first time in over a year and it felt strange. Even though I am vaccinated, I kept asking the server to please open the windows. Maybe it will take time to get used to things that were just part of our daily routine in the past? How will it feel to be in a crowded space? Or at a movie? Or to get dressed in something other than joggers and leggings?
New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks wrote in this piece:
“I’m also convinced that the second half of this year is going to be more fantastic than we can imagine right now. We are going to become hyper-appreciators, savoring every small pleasure, living in a thousand delicious moments, getting together with friends and strangers, and seeing them with the joy of new and grateful eyes.”
I am excited about the new season. Right now, I am happy with the small victories each day. I am looking forward to new beginnings. I may even start waking up earlier to catch the sunrise.