Many things have been taken away from us during this pandemic, but I (Alice) am a seeker of silver linings, and here’s one I’ve recently discovered.
The Champaign Library opened again last month, and I made a visit there a few weeks ago to find new picture books to review for my column in the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette. I used to visit the library regularly, but it had been closed for months due to the pandemic.
Oh, how great it felt to stand among the picture books, and to browse through one after another, select a pile, check them out, and take some home. Take some home! Lounging in my comfy red living room chair, reading my newly found treasures, I felt such gratitude for the privilege of being able to use the library. I’ve always loved my visits there, but now I will always see the library with a new appreciation, not to be taken for granted.
I feel this same gratitude as I’ve run my writing camp this summer, sharing the joy of the campers to simply be together. It feels magical, after months of quarantine, to be here, and so worth all of the precautions we took (testing, temperature taking, etc) to make it possible.
Even in situations where we can’t physically be together, I feel gratitude for the creative ways we’ve found to come together through technology. I just attended a live-streamed Bat Mitzvah with over one hundred attendees from all over the world. During the service, as I read our comments scrolling down the side of the screen, some from old, familiar names, my heart swelled. This was a community, coming together despite the obstacles.
Life and its beauty are all around us -- a community, a camp, a trip to the library. These are gifts to be treasured and never to be taken for granted. I feel so lucky to have them.
Alice B. McGinty and Alan B. Havis