We escaped from our socially-distant isolation yesterday the same way we have been doing most days, by taking a walk through parts of our neighborhood we haven’t seen on foot before. A road you have driven often looks quite different afoot.
During our walk we realized that little silver linings from the Covid Incarceration are all around us. Seeing this required us to put on our “Good News Goggles”, taking a much-needed break from the harsh and frenzied headlines blaring out from the incessant “Updates” and Breaking News spewing out from every media outlet. All except John Krasinski’s new YouTube show, Some Good News, which was a real treat to watch. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5pgG1M_h_U
Thank you John K! He’s a hero, not so much the other talking heads.
News-silenced, and Good News Goggled, we struck off. Our first observation: how nice and quiet it is to take a walk without the crush of rush hour traffic! We heard the normal background noises of our neighborhood that get drowned out by the twice-daily commute surge. It’s surprising how much more you perceive of the landscape surrounding you when you can hear it instead of just seeing it.
We happened upon a neighbor lady bringing groceries and supplies to another neighbor. We had no idea what the circumstances were, a shut-in or elderly person, just some friendly “gang shopping”, or whatever. It was just nice to see people cheerfully helping their neighbors, if for no reason at all. Shades of long-lost Mayberry.
We saw families through their big plate glass front windows. It was unusual to see anyone through those windows before. But here were parents and siblings, sitting around the living room doing something they likely hadn’t done in a long time, just spending time together.
We took a side trip through a church parking lot, and although it was like a ghost town, we discovered an outpost with a cabinet attached that was labeled “Community Pantry” and had a sign “Take what you need, leave what you don’t”. It had spaghetti, olive oil, a bag of flour, some cookies, a few jars of spices, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was packed. I wonder how full it is in normal times? Visible generosity, and caring for your neighbors, is soothing and stress-relieving.
We got to include ourselves in the good-deed-doers list. Along the walk we picked up a Tail We Couldn’t Shake. A neighborhood cat who began stalking us early on, sneaking along behind us, then quickly darting ahead of us, anticipating where we might be headed. But always pacing us.
It kept this up for many many blocks, and we began to wonder if it was planning on coming home with us. When we got to a busy road, which we intended to cross, we were worried that it might follow us across, then decide after that to turn around and go back from whence it came. We didn’t want to gamble that it would make it back across the busy road alone, so we did an about-face and headed back the way we had come. Our shadow followed right along, as we had hoped, until we got back to the part of the neighborhood where we picked it up. There was a little girl there, and she cheerfully pointed to a house just down the street when we asked if she knew where the kitty belonged. We trolled our little charge down there, and a knock on the door later we met some very nice folks, all pajama-clad, who happily took the little bugger inside. Mission accomplished.
Americans are known the planet over as winners in adversity. I think it is basic human nature to want to win, and to help others along. There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but if you point yourself in the direction of looking for the good ones, they are there for the “goggling”. Think of it as cheap therapy, with fresh air and sunshine included at no extra charge.
Tippy, too, is wearing his Good News Goggles today.