January 23, 2022

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Lesson of the Day: ‘Scenes From America’s Reopening’

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Quotation B: Out on the Field

Fans are once again seated in the grandstands that stood eerily empty last year as athletes played through the pandemic.

How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your experience of sports during the past year, whether as a participant or fan? Which athletic activities are you most looking forward to?

Quotation C: Breaking Bread

Friends and family are gathering at the table to reconnect over shared meals. There are special occasions to celebrate, stories to tell and lockdown recipes to share.

How has the pandemic affected your friendships and family? How has it strengthened these bonds? And how has it tested or hurt them? Did the pandemic shrink your social circle or just clarify who is most important to you (and why)? What joys of family and friendship do you most look forward to?

Quotation D: The Moment

Across the country, people are coming together for annual traditions, rites of passage or just woodland walks.

What coming-of-age traditions have you had to cancel or change over the past year? What new rituals have you created to celebrate your teenage years? What are ways you are enjoying the moment now?

5. In a reader comment, Philip S. Wenz from Corvallis, Ore., writes:

My wife and I (both fully vaccinated) live 1.5 hours from Portland, Oregon. Back in the day, we’d go there about once each month, almost always having lunch or dinner at our favorite restaurant and strolling along the street full of little shops and galleries.

On Mother’s Day, we did it for the first time in well over a year. Boy did it feel good! So nice to see “our” waiter still working, visit the little gallery with the outstanding local art, buy a few items in the craft supply store.

Talk about being able to appreciate life! We almost felt like some guy who’d been trapped on a deserted island being rescued and returned to the big city.

What “firsts” have you recently experienced or celebrated? First hugs, kisses, walks, gatherings or prayers? What aspects of your old life do you still hope and yearn for? Who do you most desire to see again, to sit or talk with face-to-face, to hug or to cry with? In what ways has the pandemic helped you to appreciate everyday life?

6. The photographic essay ends:

The pandemic isn’t over. On May 12, the virus killed 848 people in the United States and 13,425 around the world. It may never leave us.

But after a year, grief and fear have begun to give way to optimism. There’s a path back now, to the lives we knew, to something closer to normal.

How would you characterize this moment, for yourself, for Americans or for the world? Do you agree that there’s a path back to the lives we knew? Or do you think it’s still too early to tell? What are your hopes and dreams for the summer, the fall and the year ahead?

Option 1: Share your thoughts and experiences.

How are you feeling right now?

What are you thinking, feeling and experiencing at this moment? Are you ready to unmask? Are you eager to return to aspects of your old life that have been disrupted for the past year? Are you craving the opportunity to experience the world anew and try new things? What are you hopeful about? What worries you? Why do you think you feel the way you do — and do you think others your age feel the same?

Whether you are excited, anxious, scared, hesitant or unsure of what lies ahead, tell us how you are making sense and processing the moment.

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