Beyond the sable cloud

 The poet and historian John Milton is thought to have coined the term “silver lining” in a piece he wrote in 1634 titled “Comus.” It has some dark twists, as you can imagine, and out of the shadows, the phrase emerges.

“Was I deceiv’d, or did a sable cloud/Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

What is the silver lining of the dark cloud we find ourselves in during COVID-19? The most notable is simply the gift of time.

After I click “end meeting” on Zoom for the last time each day at Colorado Academy, I close my laptop and think about what I might be doing if our lives were back to normal.

When life was normal

I’d probably be trying to beat traffic as I rush to meet a friend at an art opening. I might be assessing the weather, as I plan to watch my daughter from the sidelines of a cross country meet. I might be considering which take-out food option is the healthiest and quickest to grab for my family on my way home from work.

Then I think of what my afternoons and evenings look like now. I have sketched a leaf on my back patio eight times with eight different light sources. I have binge-watched three seasons of “Homeland” and have confirmed that I’m glad I’m not a CIA agent. I taught my daughter to knit (after re-learning myself), and she has made a scarf one might trip on. I’m learning a new song on the piano. I’m having lengthy conversations with colleagues about art and how we can continue to inspire our students’ love of the creative process.

It makes me think of Milton’s “silver lining” in that deep black cloud. We do not know when our lives will return to normal, but I am now confident that we will think back to this time with some fondness, with a better appreciation of time, and remember some lessons learned.