It’s impossible, I believe, to finish this sentence in a manner that pleases everyone: “The hardest thing about the pandemic has been _______.”
People have lost so much, and those losses are, in many ways, both alike and different for everyone. Lives have been lost, health has been lost, jobs have been lost, and families and friends have been kept apart for the common good. In addition to these few examples, there are many other situations, some of them unique, but most of them shared in some manner by others.
That said, the last loss I mentioned–the loss of community–is starting to make a comeback. Sometimes I think it’s growing stronger because of the shared sense of responsibility to do it in a way that seems right.
There are, of course, a variety of relatively new ways to communicate through the use of technology, but the last few days have reminded me how some of the older methods are still valuable.
I’ve seen people sitting together outside. That’s a lot easier here in the south, but I’ve heard accounts of it occurring in the colder climes. If we want to be together, we’ll figure out how to do it.
I’ve seen people engage in outdoor activities. The hiking trails in my area haven’t seen this much use in, well, perhaps forever. Bicycle stores and outdoor equipment stores are seeing more business.
In my limited experience with them, even online groups are seeing their sense of community growing through offline avenues. I’ve sent and received cards and letters (one just yesterday!) from people with whom my relationship would probably have stayed virtual were it not for a heightened sense of connection brought on by our shared experiences.
This first day of spring is, metaphorically speaking, not just a time of renewal after a long season of meteorological winter. These days hold a sense of hope that a figurative winter is ending as well. May that be so.