One Bright Thing The COVID-19 Chronicles

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This is one of a series of first-person accounts of how COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders around Monterey Bay are affecting us all. If you would like to share your thoughts about living under the sheltering sky send your essay to us at

By Helene Constant

In my twenties I lived on 43rd Street, one block up from Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan. I never got up early unless car alarms came up the fire escape. Now, in my seventies, the sun wakes me early.

The retirement community where I live is on a mesa top in Carmel and the fossilized residents don’t get up early for senior-safe shopping hours. I eat my toast, pull on my blue Nitrile gloves, and head out to our quiet and still parking lot. It is the golden gateway to shopping and the firehouse from whence the first responders will come, if the virus clanks its boney legs up to our hiding place.

This early the air is brisk, I see a quail perched on top of a bush, I hear the music of what might be a mockingbird from a watching pine. I discover that from two places on my route down the driveway I can see the Pacific Ocean. Amazing all the wildflowers springing up on each side, there’s a morning glory, peeping shyly from behind a tall weed.

After a small number of panting minutes I turn around to climb uphill, and something amazing happens. I find myself leaning forward, sucking air noisily in through my mouth, and loudly puffing my lungs. I added the fist pumping from the Rocky movie. It’s not running, it’s old-fashioned jogging.

Yay, the old lady is getting ready for her fight against reality.

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