Now that I can walk around the block without wearing my Covid-19 prevention mask, I am grateful for the newfound benefits: I can now effortlessly breathe, and I can walk freely in the midst of a few people, whether they are masked or not. And if someone is not masked, I can actually see his or her face. Ah, normality is such a boon.
I have always had a low-pitched, unassuming voice. To make myself heard while wearing a mask, I would have to emphatically raise my voice, and even then, people had trouble deciphering what I was saying. So I rarely bothered to address anyone I met on my walks. But without a mask, I am liberated. What a pleasure it is to be able to clearly communicate, whether it is just a pleasant hello or a more detailed conversation.
Yesterday, I realized how much I enjoyed engaging with people during my walk. Ahead of me, I saw a youngster embracing a coconut tree while a young woman photographed her. Both of them were unmasked and from their carefree facial expressions, I could tell how much they were delighted to have this moment together. As I slowly passed by, I exuberantly exclaimed: “Tree huggers of the world, unite!”
I’m not sure if the woman got the Marxist allusion, but she glanced at me, broadly grinned, and chuckled appreciatively. And the youngster hugged the tree with even more enthusiasm.
We three strangers added triumphant good cheer to one another. In the aftermath of Covid-19, every such encounter is a well-deserved blessing.