Peering outside to witness an elderly woman walking her dog first thing in the morning — mask on, gloves on.
Passing by a beach normally teeming with families, lovers, life — now barren.
Riding bikes through the center of Coconut Grove, typically smelling of car exhaust and ethnic foods — now eerily devoid of traffic and human interaction.
A coronavirus — a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus as we have drilled into our memories — causing this void. Something so minuscule. Something invisible to the naked eye. The people of the world confined within the walls of their homes. Or a minimum of six feet away from another human being in a public space — so long as there are less than ten people in the area. All due to this obscure villain of the world.
It almost seems unreal. The world has stopped as we anxiously await the “all clear” from some ambiguous authoritative figure. The elderly woman continues reusing her mask and gloves because the store shelves have lacked stock for weeks. The beaches remain untouched. The busy streets are vacant. We have been halted in our tracks against all desires and efforts.
The world is quarantined, but we have learned to be human again.
Rather than tirelessly working or studying, we are forced to engage with one another in meaningful ways. We find novel alternatives to maintain relationships with those who mean the most to us during this daunting time with no foreseeable end. We reach out, check-in, virtually visit with our people. We adapt.
We learn to be children again. Playing board games, riding bikes, doing puzzles, speaking to friends on the phone without having a purpose for the call. We relearn the value of community, the beauty of nature, the joy in the banality of everyday life. Life has come to a dramatic halt, but in this, we find ourselves again. This does not negate the overwhelming stress and anxiety being experienced by the masses. It is only to find the silver lining in it all.
The silver lining of an elderly woman being able to safely walk her dog on empty streets.
The silver lining of a beach unfettered by plastic bottles and bags left behind by careless beachgoers.
The silver lining of a city street now free of pollutants, allowing for truly fresh air to fill the lungs of those who seek it.
The world is quarantined, but we are liberated just the same.