I took this photo on a walk through town the other day. It was a beautiful, crisp evening, the sky was clear and I came upon this glowing front yard light show which spoke to me of hope. These are scary times, and so many are struggling for so many reasons. How do we stay positive? How do we motivate ourselves? How do we stop ourselves from going down a dark hole of despair?

There are reasons for glimmers of light: although hospitalizations have yet to peak, cases seem to be declining. It was announced this week that we will go back to fully in-person teaching at Laurier on January 31 (granted, this announcement was not greeted with equal enthusiasm across the board). Slowly but surely, it appears that restrictions on gathering, restaurants, performance venues and other things will be lifting. Many of us are still afraid, but others of us are also cautiously optimistic.

I wonder if we can all just hold on to the light. The days are getting longer, the sun a little higher in the sky. Bit by bit, we can test ourselves at regaining some of our lost social skills. We can start things slowly and gently, allowing ourselves time to readjust to these new norms. We can remind ourselves that personal downtime is important, and that we may need more space to regenerate in between social interactions. We can also rebuild practice regimens and performing schedules, perhaps on more humane scaffolding. Fewer obligations. More intention. Maybe we can agree to do less, to say no more. Let’s take the lessons this pandemic has taught us and pay them forward in good ways. Let’s agree to be slower to react and quicker to listen. And let’s let the light back into our lives, our practice, our sounds and our selves.