Sun and shadows

There’s much to be thankful for this year, even as the pandemic continues. J and I got our booster shots a month ago, exactly six months after our second Pfizer dose: as soon (in other words) as we were eligible. This time last year, I was teaching hybrid classes in half-empty classrooms; this year, my classrooms are full of vaccinated students, my colleagues have returned to campus, and I don’t think twice about wearing a mask inside stores, the library, and museums.

Now that J and I have been boosted and the weather is cold, we’ve returned to eating lunch twice a week inside our favorite pub: a bit of normalcy that feels good for the soul. I’m not sure we’ll ever return to the old normal of the Before Times: I suspect we’ll always startle when we hear someone cough or sneeze in public, and I’ll probably continue wearing a mask indoors during cold and flu season.

But the early days of lockdown, when nonessential businesses were closed and J and I didn’t venture out even for take-out food, seem very far away. We’re learning how to live with the virus, recognizing COVID has changed our lives in lasting ways, and in a strange way I’m grateful for that, too.