Grateful for Small Moments in the Midst of COVID-19

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By Michael Gold

A duck paddling in the Saw Mill River in Pleasantville is one of the small pleasures that can be appreciated during the COVID-19 crisis.

As Westchester and the world battles the coronavirus, I have tried to keep my spirits up by finding joy in small moments of grace offered by nature and my fellow human beings.

I go for walks around Pleasantville in the late afternoon with my daughter, after our work is done, making sure to keep our distance if we see anyone coming near.

We found plants blooming all over town – purple and yellow sprouts in the flower beds by Memorial Plaza, white petals on the trees, green shoots insistently popping up virtually everywhere.

A few weeks ago, we saw two ducks swimming in the Saw Mill River by Grant Street. It looked like a mama duck and her baby. They dunked their heads under the clear water every few seconds looking for food.

A raven, black as midnight in a cornfield, landed on top of the stop light on Bedford Road by the police station near sunset, complaining loudly. The blue sky was speckled with white clouds above us, the sun spraying its fading light over the buildings in town and beyond the hills surrounding our little town.

A squirrel was rooting in the grass across the street from where we walked, perhaps trying to remember where it had buried nuts before winter.

I saw a cardinal, brilliant red, flit from tree to tree. Robins, with their fat, round orange bellies, ran across lawns.

A boy kicking a soccer ball on his porch, lost it and it bounced onto the hill in front of his house, gathering speed as it flew downward onto Washington Avenue, where we were walking. I moved to catch it, little pings of eager anticipation in my hands at the chance to grab a ball.

I caught the ball, then walked it across the street to toss it back to the boy. That simple exchange was a pure and special moment, as he looked grateful to get it back.

A teenage girl wearing grey sweatpants and a Yankee cap, took long balletic leaps, one, two, three times, down the sidewalk off Bedford Road, her mother trailing behind.

A little girl, about two years old, wearing a pink winter coat, sat on a rock parked on the grassy area by the Saw Mill River, off Grant Street, and blew soap bubbles in the early April sun. Her mother smiled at the bubbles taking off with the wind.

One of the things I love about baseball is seeing all that green grass fanning out from the infield. At the Roselle Park ball field, a father was hitting a baseball to his young son, planted in the dirt at shortstop. If all was not right with the world, this was.

On another walk, we went to Parkway Field. A full moon rose over Southern Table restaurant as we walked on the infield.

We saw bird prints in the dirt between second base and shortstop, each at least two inches long. They belonged to a very big bird.

An extended family of smaller birds, black, with little flashes of red at the top of their wings, searched the outfield, hunting for their evening meal.

I found a mangled plastic bottle on the infield grass, a crime against baseball. I kicked the bottle off the field because my daughter wouldn’t let me pick it up.

The COVID-19 virus reminds us with shocking regularity that nature can be terrible and destructive and heartbreaking. Yet, despite the mounting toll of this virus, the beauties of nature are still with us and every spring the Earth wakes up and gives birth to new life and in that life is hope.

Pleasantville resident Michael Gold has published op-ed articles in the New York Daily News and the Albany Times-Union.

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