I woke up this morning to someone playing “Beauty and the Beast” on a flute, somewhere from a window on the other side of our apartment building. I walk out onto the balcony, and so do our neighbors down below. We ask him to play another song, because today there is no rush. Today, there’s time.
At noon, we hear a ballad of pans from children on a terrace. The metal music creates an echo between our buildings. From a distance, we smile at each other, and we feel close.
Tonight at eight, we will see each other again. We will walk out to our balconies and windows, we will turn our phone lights on and we will clap for the strong men and women that are fighting for our country. It’s a new constant that we can hang on to.
They’re strange, these days. Long and still. But the smell of morning coffee seems to be stronger, a text from a friend a written hug. And lately, when I listen to a song, I can really listen to it.
It would be fake to say that this isn’t hard. I know I’m fortunate, I am healthy and there others who are really going through a hard time. People alone, friends who tested positive and are sick in bed, worried strangers that seem more like family these days. Because if you’re hurting, I am too.
Sometimes a looming fear and anxiety will start to set in if you’re not careful to take its hand and lead it to rest. Only a few weeks ago, I was preoccupied thinking about what to do on summer break or what professional opportunities I wanted to pursue. Now, in a sudden and complete redo of a typical day, I wonder, what will i do in this 3 bedroom apartment? How do I live well in these four walls? What can I do to make my body flow, to make my mind stronger, or my heart lighter? How can I give in spirit to my loved ones who are near but not near enough? To those that were far and now seem to be even farther? How do I be kind and give to those that are doing a lot worse?
If I’m honest, I know that the incessant scrolling on my Instagram or Facebook or the news isn’t the way to combat this. I know it’s good for me to read, write, paint, watch movies… But it would be sad to distract myself so much that I would miss this opportunity to think, create, and even recreate the way I’ve been living. To seek what is true in this moment, whatever is beyond this worry or fear. What do I do when I hear the ambulance down the empty street? When I receive a sad text about another victim of this uncertain time?
I don’t have answers, but I cannot let today’s gray sky dictate how I feel or how I live through this.
So I will continue to wait for the neighbors’ songs in the morning. I will keep going out to my balcony at 8 o’clock to give the applause. I will keep looking for the spots of sun, in honest songs and uninterrupted conversations. In the sweetness of a mandarine and the song of birds during a sleepless night. In laughter and in making art, in routines and moments of rest. In moments of thought and feeling.
I will keep looking out my window, and I will keep praying that this will make us better. That this will bring out strength. That we will be surprised.