As scientists work to discover the secrets of COVID-19 in order to develop effective treatments and a vaccine, other discoveries are also being made in these challenging and uncertain times. Some of these are corporate, things that many people are learning together. This includes both how to work from home and how to deal with the unexpected loss of employment and, of course, how to maintain safe social distance while remaining connected to family, friends, and community.
Some discoveries are more personal and can involve a re-examination of how each of us spends our time and what gives us a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and wellness. While we’re all in this together, everyone’s experience is unique to them.
Here are just a few of the cool things I am discovering during this tumultuous and ever-changing period. Two of them have them have come to light during daily walks around my Little Italy neighbourhood in Toronto, and one was arrived at through necessity, that mother of invention.
The joy of play – On one particularly unspectacular day, I was walking up and down the back lane ways near our house just to get some extra steps in when I came across a 260 jump hopscotch. It stretched behind many, many houses and involved hopping, jumping, and spinning along a colourful route drawn with sidewalk chalk. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I looked around to see if anyone was watching and set off. When I reached the end, I was completely winded and full of joy. My heartfelt thanks to the hopscotch creators, Zoe and Sasha, for reminding me of the importance of play! I smiled all the way home.
Lane ways as art galleries – Not all great art is found in galleries, museums, and private collections. The lane ways and residential streets of Toronto are full of amazing colour and creativity just waiting to be discovered. On my walks, I’ve enjoyed street scenes, graffiti, history lessons, social commentary, urban wildlife, and landscapes, not to mention sculpture, ceramics, and installation art (some intentional and some maybe not). Click on the butterfly art photo to see more examples of lane way (opens in a new tab). Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to add beauty to our common spaces.
The satisfaction of DIY (Doing It Yourself) – I have always liked puzzles, fitting things together to make a complete picture. I have never considered myself handy, despite having a father who can fix just about anything. And then our washing machine broke. Normally, we would have called a repair person, but “normal” is not a thing these days. Our daughter’s boyfriend figured out that a sock had gotten sucked into the pump under the motor. He ordered a new pump and installed it. This fixed the problem until a second sock went astray. A second pump was ordered, but it arrived after the return of Rachel and Reid to Ottawa. So I rolled up my sleeves, got down on my hands and knees, and did it myself! This short description of my success does not begin to take in the details of the process, including my first failed attempt, the blood spilled, the expletives uttered, the water mopped up etc. However, the satisfaction felt upon hearing the sweet hum of the agitator in motion cannot be understated (hear it for yourself on Instagram). Thank you to Reid for your patient explanations and to David, my motor-lifting assistant!
While our COVID-19 experience is far from over, it’s worth considering (and sharing!) the cool things we can discover on the journey.