In the latter part of 2019 a new strain of Corona Virus was found in Wuhan China. It spread around the world in early 2020. It was initially called NCov (New Corona Virus) and was changed later to COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease -2019). There was no known cure and to this day, countries are all still researching and developing vaccine and cure. In the meantime governments prevented the spread through the imposition of lockdowns or quarantines to enforce social distancing and wearing of face masks and encouraged everyone to practice good hygiene.
COVID-19 turned the world upside down as businesses, schools, malls and other establishments were closed and we stayed in our homes to stay safe. We couldn’t do the things we used to take for granted. As the days passed many of us realized that the restrictions brought about some positive things.
- Peace and Quiet
I’ve come to realize this when one afternoon I heard the pealing of church bells from our parish church. It was six o’clock in the afternoon and the pealing signaled the Angelus. Prior to the quarantines, I could only hear the pealing at nine in the evening when the day’s activities have diminished.
It reminded me of my childhood in Calauag, a town in Quezon when life was simpler. People stopped from walking, paused from whatever they were doing to say a little prayer. We children knew that it was time to stop playing and go home.
There’s a melancholic beauty in empty or near-empty streets and public places. We’ve seen a lot of these in some pictures of empty tourist spots taken and posted by professional photographers. My personal experience was when I took an early morning walk during the early days of Community Quarantine. There were few people walking and that enhanced my appreciation of things I passed and used to take for granted like pretty wild flowers on an empty lot and the calming beauty of some well-maintained front gardens of homes.
- Clearer Sky
Early quarantine was during summer . During daytime , I could see a span of cloudless blue sky.
At dusk the setting sun caused a beautiful play of colors in the sky. Even the occasional summer rain gave the clouds different shades.
At night we could see the moon and stars. We even saw the rare pink moon.
- Living Simply
We were confined to our homes and were forced to manage with what we could do with the confinement.
We managed not to go to supermarkets and if we did we went only when it was necessary and bought essential items only. We didn’t spend time malling.
We couldn’t meet with friends so that also meant no gasoline expenses, dining out or buying new dresses/outfits. We had a taste of minimalism.
I celebrated my birthday last June 6 at home with my family. Still, I felt the love of distant family and friends through online or phoned greetings and some gifts delivered. I took an early morning walk to our church and absorbed once again its serenity and beauty.
- Free Time
It’s nice to wake up naturally according to our own body rhythm.
I was able to appreciate the beauty of nature in our garden at the time I like best, early in the morning when it’s cool and I can hear the birds chirping, playing in the branches of our balimbing and guava trees. I also like it in the afternoon when the sun is down but it is not dark yet.
- Spirit of Cooperation
The spirit of cooperation is very much felt. People demonstrated willingness to help in their own small way. We’ve read and seen on TV stories of big businesses, charitable organizations and individuals helping the less fortunate. I know of unpublished stories of friends cooking food and giving lunch boxes to the volunteers in their barangays. Others donated through their churches. And a lot more gave a little money directly to the needy.