Bridge of smiles

It can seem hard to find anything to be glad about right now. The news reports are dire, we all have our wings clipped and although there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, we have, as yet, no idea how far away that might be… or even who amongst us will be around to see it. We are worried for our loved ones, missing those we cannot see because of the restrictions, concerned about finances, both personal and global… and the worries just seem to keep on coming.

Yet, silently standing… the requisite two metres apart… in the long queue of people waiting to be allowed entry into the corner shop,  I couldn’t help grinning like the Cheshire Cat. The sun was playing through the leaves of the trees, illuminating the tender greens of spring. The brightness cast shadows, highlighting the textures of bark and leaf. Banks of spring flowers were in bloom, carpets of delicate blue speedwell, bright daisies and dandelions scattered across the grass and the absence of traffic noise allowed the constant, busy chatter and chirp of the birds to be heard. The drone of bees and the quick flutter of butterflies filled the air. In spite of the worried expressions and occasional masked face, I really couldn’t help myself.

A bubble of pure joy in the moment, welling up from beyond the cares of the day, made the smile inevitable.  A young man facing me caught the smile and grinned back. A couple of eyebrows were raised as if in disapproval that we could find anything to smile about, but, for the most part, that young man’s smile was as infectious as the virus that was holding us captive on the threshold of the shop… and spread even faster.

An elderly lady behind me broke the silence… just a banality, a comment about it being nice to see a bit of sun. Another woman responded. Then another. A couple of the older ones recalled the post-war rationing and one told of being evacuated from his London home. You could see tense shoulders relaxing and postures changing as, still obeying the rules on social distancing, our little group connected with each other and within minutes, were all chatting like old friends.

We may have to physically keep our distance from each other as we wait for the crisis to pass… and it will… but we do not have to forget in the meantime that we are people with stories and laughter to share, advice and help to offer and, even in these shadowed times, access to joy when the sun shines.

49 thoughts on “Bridge of smiles

  1. A lovely story, Sue. I am still feeling okay, even though we had bad news last night with one of my mother’s brothers and her niece both in hospital with Covid. I can still find pleasure in my garden and the sun shine, even the rain. I am quite enjoying the challenge of making bread from scratch and homemade yogurt.

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    1. I am so sorry, Robbie. I do hope they pull through okay.
      I daren’t make bread these days… I would eat it far too fast… but I do make yoghurt for Nick. Homemade yoghurt, packed with fresh-ground nuts, seeds, fruit, cerals, coconut and honey makes a nutritious supper every day… the one meal I don’t have to be there to make at the time 🙂

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  2. This was our first almost entirely sunny day in weeks. It’s not that my life has changed dramatically, though the lack of tissues, frozen veggies, and toilet paper are a bit nerve-wracking … but it’s the threat that hangs over us when we do anything. Garry and I are not even allowed out literally at all. We are too fragile. This will end. Everything ends. Hopefully, we won’t end first, but I have to admit — a sunny day really helps. I know it’s not a cure all, but I was so grateful to not have that dark sky overhead. If not curing disease, at least it buoys up our spirits.

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      1. I video messaged with my granddaughter and her daughter last night. It was so wonderful. The little one showed us her card tricks and played the piano for us. Even Dot got to say Hi. Connection is important.

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  3. There are some positives to be seen, Sue. I, too, have noticed how people are relaxing more and talking to each other when we’re queueing to get into the shops. There’s something about this shared experience that’s generating a degree of camaraderie. It’s tempting to wish that, once the virus has been eradicated, the shops still apply these restrictions and we’re only allowed to go out for exercise once a day. I suspect more people are exercising now than they used to. Scarcity can be a great motivator…

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  4. Love THIS! All it takes is remembering past hard times and seeing the beauty in the moment, and suddenly – walla! I, myself, mostly a hermit before now, anyhoo, am seeing a wonderful change in my small, local social media circle as the days wax on – thus far, even with news, shutdowns, etc., I’m seeing a change towards connection, encouragement, collaboration that just builds each day – so frickin’ HAPPY to be alive to observe this!!!

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  5. We have seen and spoken to more of our neighbours lately than ever before, and I’m sure it has lifted everyone’s mood. It has certainly lifted ours! That yoghurt sounds divine, Sue…

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  6. Oh, this is so wonderful to read and we experienced it first-hand today as we waited to go into the grocery store to get some needed items. While waiting to get inside, People were trying to help each other even with their masks and distancing, and when I called my significant other’s name, Richard, another man, apparently with the same, got a big grin I could see at the edges of his mask, and he responded verbally very happily, just glad someone knew his name too. So nice to see a bit of reality once again. It was raining hard, but people were holding out their umbrellas, offering to shield others waiting in line. My neighbor came to my gate crying today, telling me he had to put a little old dog I had rescued and later given to him because my former old neighbor, a druggie, hated to hear the dog bark when he was sitting outside doing his drugs with his friends. It is not just supposition; I could smell the meth through the kitchen window, which I could close all the way, and it was choking me. I understood his pain and spoke softly with the old man, trying to comfort him over the gate on the porch. Just reminded of how life has been in the past, and how I believe it will ultimately become once again. Thank you for posting this. Great to read and made my day.

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