Just like everyone else, I struggle day-to-day with the myriad insecurities and uncertainties of life under threat of the COVID-19 virus. And like everyone else, I am heartbroken by the stories of people dying alone and scared, without the comfort of their loved ones. I worry about the economic collapse that threatens so many who can least afford it. I am inspired and awed by the sheer courage of our front-line heroes–EMTs, firefighters, nurses, doctors, hospital staff, not to mention grocery store workers, delivery drivers and others who continue to go to work and brave sickness for our sake. And I’m grateful to the millions who are staying home and keeping their distance so that we all can get back to some semblance of regular life as soon as possible.

But what does that mean now? Regular life. Normal. I, for one, hope we can aspire to a new normal. An improved normal. And I am hopeful, because I see glimpses of it in how we are reacting to the threat of COVID-19. I see glimpses of a new normal where relationships are more intensely valued, where self-care and taking care of others trump old notions of ‘productivity.’ Where we are willing to give up some of what we have to ensure everyone has enough, where there is a genuine concern for the least among us and there are actions that go with it. I see glimpses of a new normal where economies are local and gigantic supply chains of old are dramatically reduced, allowing the planet to take a breath and at last begin to heal. Where people are valued more than profit and where local politics is what really matters. I see glimpses of a new normal where art and artists are truly appreciated, sought out and valued. Where life is slower and we are able to achieve balance, where we cook for each other, tend our gardens and our flower beds, treasure our friends and our families, and truly appreciate how fleeting life is. A new normal where solidarity, DIY and mutual benefit are the default.

I hope we have the courage to embrace these glimpses, these prefigurations, and find a way to maintain and deepen them after the threat of the virus at last passes. This, I believe, would be an apt tribute to the many we have lost and will yet lose to the virus, the best legacy we can leave to our children and our grandchildren.