1. Color is miraculous
One thing that has caught my eye this quarantine has been the vibrant spring hues of the budding trees. The tree tunnel that frames the road ahead of my house always becomes a kaleidoscope of different shades of green during the spring, but during this quarantine season, the greens seem to be amplified to brilliant new heights.
The oak trees' angular scalloped leaves flash strong chartreuse, while the cascading branches of the Wisteria tree shine a deep envy green. What results is a breathtaking array of color that when pinned against a clear blue sky gives you a reason to stop in your tracks and thank the universe for making you a human being.
2. Rain is under-appreciated
I personally find rainstorms to be one of the most underrated phenomena of the modern world. Yes, we have all seen a rainstorm and at one point or another been unfortunately caught in one while painfully underprepared, but have we truly experienced rainstorms? During this quarantine, I have been able to sit outside on a covered porch and witness a storm from beginning to end, from the first swollen drops to the final moment's gentle drizzles. As I sat and listened and watched and felt, I considered how under-appreciated rain seems to be in the modern-day world. Sure, it postpones sporting events and washes away the occasional sidewalk chalk masterpiece, but rain is a life-giving, water cycle driving, slate cleaning event that we should be getting high on!
In short, this quarantine has given me the rare opportunity to relish in the impressiveness of the rain, forced me to treasure the illusive days where the rain seems endless, where the sky is clouded with dark stormy energy from the moment the sun rises and the clouds jettison millions of tiny raindrops onto the pavement and the leaves and the grass and the windows. These days are completely invigorating and I'll chase them forever.
3. Street lamps turn on at 8:32 p.m.
Street lamp's turning on seems to be one of those elusive things that you never see directly, similar to your favorite shirt becoming worn and hole-ridden or waiting for a flower to bloom. You will be looking at a street lamp, you'll blink or look away and when you look again, it will be turned on. This means that when you do catch them in the act it can be quite unsettling, and by virtue of quarantine, I've had many chances to observe this sightly occurrence.
I find it the most interesting to observe when taking an evening walk or driving on the highway, as they will light up seconds after your inner monologue has noticed it is suddenly slightly too dark to be comfortable. Something seeming to only be observable when one has an abundance of alone time.
4. How many steps there are in a single day
Before Quarantine, I spent most of my days moving around. Catching the bus, grocery shopping, hustling around campus, etc. Being in quarantine, I quickly realized how much impetuous moving I did during normal days and began pining for it. Sure, you can walk around your neighborhood or to the grocery store, but the difference lies in that the movement of normal every day life is mindless. I did not consciously decide to walk around campus to get exercise or move my body, I walked out of necessity, and that is something I lack in quarantine. I've come face to face with the effort it requires to motivate myself to get half as much movement into my days as I used to, and I can attest that it is extremely frustrating. Despite any past qualms, I truly miss having to chase the Aggie Spirit bus down my street.
5. My own lack of focus
Another interesting quarantine revelation I've had is how difficult it is for me to commit my full attention to something. Just yesterday, I was taking a stroll around my neighborhood and trying to listen to a podcast, but I found myself zoning out for multiple minutes at a time and successfully missing half the podcast. Having excessive alone time has given me plenty of introspection time, which I have yet to utilize.
5. I live in excess
I never cease to amaze myself with my ability to accumulate random tchotchkes. If you do not know what a tchotchke is, it is an originally Slavic word meaning knick-knacks or trinkets. In my home, this translates into plant pots, ceramic jars, small pieces of art, etc. - basically any small item that is made to take up shelf space and catch dust.
Having this abundant quarantine time ensconced in my fourteen by eleven palace has given me ample time to Marie Kondo style reflect on which things I should keep and which I should let go. The minimalist lifestyle, here I come!
7. How much and how little time there is in 24 hours
For the purposes of this article, the seventh and final thing I have noticed in quarantine is how malleable time seems to be. If you want the day to last forever, it's over in a second, and on the flip side, if you just wish the day would end, it drags on for what feels like an eternity. In normal life, time is dictated by schedules and appointments, by meetings and requirements, but in quarantine, time is expansive and fluid.
What is challenging about time's new liberation, is that it requires a consistent and conscious effort to utilize, not impossible but potentially quite sobering. Quarantine is teaching me what I can realistically accomplish in the span of a day, a week, and a month, and that aspect of self-understanding is a tool priceless if recognized.
As simple as it can be to view quarantine as an entirely negative experience, it can be more freeing to recognize what benefits it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us. It offers challenges and teaching moments, opportunities, and room for growth.
It is time for us to make the choice to utilize quarantine to the best of our ability and to stop and listen to what the universe is trying to teach us.