If you live in Chicago the last week has been persistently gray, cold and wet. I mean, it’s April and that is sort of to be suspected but still a bummer. I forget who shared this classic in the comments a bit back, but accurate meme is accurate:
After four solid days of rain the city finally had a beautiful sunny day. I wasted no time putting on my running shoes and heading outside. I’m still building up my miles, so I only ran for a bit before stopping for coffee at Dark Matter Osmium on Belmont.
An aside before I get to the point of this piece. I’m so thankful to the small businesses who are working tremendously hard to maintain a bit of normalcy while keeping their customers and workers safe.
I’ve shared some images of Dark Matter before, but they have really been at the top of their game these last six weeks. They’ve changed their rules to only allow one patron in the store at a time, all of their employees have masks and work behind plexiglass. They’ve also really been pushing online ordering to avoid lines outside the store. If you have local businesses who are open and doing great work, reward them with your business if you can.
Anyway, after picking up an iced coffee (and taking a moment to thank the universe that it was warm enough for iced coffee today) I still had a few miles to cover. I headed towards Southport and just observed the small groups out walking and enjoying the day. A family of five out on their walk created a bit of a traffic jam at one point, so I stepped off to the side of the sidewalk to let them pass when an elderly gentleman on his porch said “Hello there” in my general direction.
I smiled at him and said “Hello, how’s your Sunday?”
He smiled back and replied “Well, as good as can be expected. We’ll get through this I suppose. The sun makes it a little better.”
By now the family had passed and I replied “Indeed, it does. Have a great day,” as I continued on my way.
But I thought about that line for the next two miles as I walked home: The sun makes it a little better.
It’s incredible how the uncertainty and fear of the pandemic has brought the little things that truly matter into sharp focus. Things that seemed tremendously important three months ago have easily fallen by the wayside as I fill my work week with ways to continue to bring debate to students who are sheltering in place at home and collaborating with brilliant educators all over the country trying to overcome the obstacles to online education. Or the time I spend writing these small daily observations to keep perspective in the pandemic while connecting with the Cubs community here on Bleed Cubbie Blue. There are the daily calls to my parents that provide a moment of connection and some peace of mind that they are still healthy and well. And then there is prioritizing my own health by continuing to log those miles, wearing a mask, social distancing in public, and, yes, taking advantage of every moment of sun to make it a little better.