Originally published, here on March 23rd,2020
With so much unexpected change, it’s been beautiful to watch people respond by being present and looking to each other. As strict distancing enforcements went into effect today, I noticed spirits rise over these barriers and instinctually connect in a place that reached above them. In downtown Toronto, security guards are limiting the number of shoppers that are allowed inside the few essential shops that remain open. In the long lines today, people were looking out for strangers and creating opportunities to cheer up the surrounding community. From the few interactions I’ve had this week, there’s always been an initial feeling of closeness that is added because of the strange, protective distance that we keep.
The responses remind me of the way we look to each other when a rainstorm hits and suddenly everyone outside is soaked in the sudden ocean of water that pours down. It’s a new current state for everyone out there and we’re all feeling the wildness of this
new normal. In the type of storm where it seems like the air has been replaced with
water, and there’s suddenly no choice but to swim through it– we‘re more likely to openly connect with each other through the shared experience.
For me, the strangers who were joking and checking in with each other in the distanced lineup helped me to remember that humanity wasn’t shutting down, but opening up. As the atmosphere surrounding us grows more solemn, every encouraging smile helps. We’re all in the water together. And it’s together that we help each other breathe through it.