In March, when Governor Cuomo announced a shelter-in-place order, our lives slowed down. With schools, workplaces, gyms, and most businesses closed, we had a chance to get up close and personal with our families. Being home had both blessings and frustrations. We had an opportunity to bond more closely while cursing under our breath about virtual learning. We cooked and baked more, took more walks, and spent a lot of time with our pets. We read, spent time in our gardens, and did loads of yard work. Adult children returned home, looking for sanctuary and comfort in a time of the pandemic.

But there was also family that we couldn't see, except virtually. We missed hugs, celebrating our birthdays, graduations, family reunions, and going to the prom. We spent holidays on Zoom, gave ourselves haircuts, mailed boxes of toilet paper to loved ones, and delayed weddings. We missed funerals, lost loved ones, and weren't able to visit those in assisted living facilities. People learned new skills, embraced meditation, breathing, and embraced their faith. 

By slowing down, we began to appreciate the simple things in our lives -- our homes, family, and neighborhoods. People of all ages volunteered at local food pantries and other organizations. Neighbors rallied to keep each other's spirits high by posting rainbows in windows, encouraging people to exercise in search of the brightly-hued talismans of better times to come.