Staying connected in the time of corona: let’s share our stories

Well, it’s taken me a while, but here it is: My first blog post in the midst of this incomprehensibly weird scourge. While I’ve written plenty of coronavirus stuff in my other life as a Times Union staffer, I’ve struggled to find the energy and insight to post something meaningful here. I need to weigh in, I kept telling myself. I have a platform. I should do something with it. But then: Something? What kind of something? And then: Oh, crap, it’ll have to be Profound. I’m too pooped to do Profound. And finally: I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow crept in this petty pace until I realized, at long last, that I shouldn’t be thinking in terms of Profound, whether capitalized or not. I should be thinking about the everyday. The mundane that roots us, links us, makes us laugh in a time of isolation. The funny six-foot interactions we have with strangers, feeling kinship even as we veer into the street to avoid the plague. The ways each of us is trying to help — with a phone call to a friend, a gift to a pantry, a delivery to a family in need.

The little reminders of light in the darkness, assuring us that we’re still here. That we’re still human. That we are, despite everything, still connected.

Here’s a big one for me: going outside and finding community. An unexpected upside to COVID-19 has been the joy of walking in the early spring sunshine and seeing so many neighbors out there, stretching their legs. A lot of them are walking their dogs; a lot of them are taking a break from telecommuting to grab a blast of vitamin D; a lot of them are playing games with their children.

The other day I saw folks teaching a boy to ride a bike, and it filled me with gratitude — relief, even — to know that happy memories are still being amassed. That this one kid, at least, will grow up and look back on March 2020 with the remembered thrill of freedom and balance and force, of the wind against his face and the pedals beneath his feet and the loving hands that steady his ride and then, in an act of faith, let go.

And as I realized this, the moment become my happy memory, too. Parents love, children mount bicycles, and life prevails.

What are your own beautiful moments that turn into memories? Your own glimpses of light and causes for gratitude in the midst of COVID-19? Your own mundane, miraculous reminders of all that makes us human? Post them here as comments. As we move forward, I’ll do my best to amass them in subsequent posts.

The name of this blog is, after all, Figuring Shit Out. This is shit we need to figure out together. So let’s do it, my friends. Let’s stay connected, Coronavirus be damned.