One Bright Thing
By Professor Steve Mark, Advisor to Horizons
In this article in April, The New York Times posed an important question to some of its long-time reporters: In these dark days, what’s one bright thing?
For this assignment, I posed the same question to Horizons staff. What is “one bright thing” for you during these sometimes dark times? Why and how does it lift your spirits?
Below are 12 of the editors’ favorite answers.
By Louis Verderame
Is it just me or has it been raining for the last, I don’t know, eight years? Or does it just feel that way? My darkening shades in my room sometimes give off a bleakness that when I get up signal that each day is going to be gloomy and dreadful. It’s not until I roll the dice and open them that my mood shifts from “a possible awesome day” to “ugh, another wasted day.” But it’s not up to the weather to dictate my days; it’s up to me to find one bright thing about the day.
I am an avid hiker and biker, having hiked mountains all last summer, (see Horizons Spring 2020 issue, article Climbing Mountains for more on that!) I also biked in my first 15-mile bike race last summer called the Tour de Branford.
Within the mayhem of the start of our shelter-in-place, I forgot that my bike was in my basement. I usually put it in the basement to gain a little extra room in the garage. I was downstairs taking my dog out (another bright thing in my life) and when we came back inside I saw her, in all her glory. Black frame, blue and orange stripe, tires…deflated. We can fix that. It was beautiful.
Sunshine, rain or wind, I’m out there on my bike, finding silver linings. Whether it’s going around my neighborhood or to familiar spots in my town like the West Haven boardwalk,I’m taking it all in. There’s an underrated beauty in going from point A to point B. In these odd times, this is working for me. Everyone has to find that silver lining in their own life, and mine was sitting in my basement waiting for me. One bright thing in your life is waiting for you too, you just have to want to see it.
One (Wo)Man’s Best Friends
By Chrissy Getts
The NYT article entitled “One Bright Thing” got it right in describing our environment during coronavirus as “amid the bleakness.” In these truly dark times, it can be difficult to keep your eyes on the bright side. I struggle often with making the best out of the situation, something I’m usually good at otherwise. Something that always makes me smile, though, are my two malteses, Cady and Clarice.
Every morning I wake up and my dogs immediately come over and lick my face. We have a morning routine together: as soon as we’re ready to embrace the day, we get in my car and go to Starbucks for an iced tea and a puppacino. Sundays is treat day because we’ll also go to Donut Crazy and get a bacon egg and cheese sandwich to share!
Once we get home and I have to start working, my dogs always make sure they sit right near me. Even if I’m in a chair at my kitchen counter, they lay on the floor by my chair, which has got to mean something because the couch is only about 20 feet away from there!
Once I finish my work, we go on a walk for about 45 minutes, either in my neighborhood or by the boardwalk in Milford. My first pup, Clarice, does not like to walk, and it’s really funny when she lays down in the middle of the sidewalk, refusing to go further when Cady, the younger one(only by a month!), is always ready and raring to go outside.
Once we get home, we eat dinner, usually watch a movie or an episode or two of Law & Order: SVU. When we’re ready to go to bed, I always ask “Okay girls, wanna go to sleep?” and they trot wearily up the stairs, turning left at the top towards my bedroom. In the words of my mom, we are like 3 ducks in a row.
My dogs are my favorite thing in my life. Any time I look at them, I smile and feel so loved. They are the best listeners on top of being cute, funny and entertaining. They have their own personalities that always surprise me, which is why I can surely call them the one bright thing that always uplifts my spirits.
Bright Days with Red Machine
By Kevawn Sangster
The one bright thing that has me going during these dark times is playing my sound system. A sound system is a list of various speakers intricately put into different levels (high mid, low mid and twitter) to amplify the sound of the music.
My sound system has been keeping me going because I’m a huge music lover and for me nothing in the world is better than just sitting back and working on my sound. During these times I’m able to rewire my speakers and build more speaker boxes with my dad. Just dealing with sound equipment gets my attention overall because I’ve been working on them since I was 9 years old with my father. I just like my music obnoxiously loud which I really enjoy even though I know my neighbors most likely hate it. But this is what keeps my days bright and happy.
A Reorganized Bookshelf
By Aquiera Williams
From textbooks and dictionaries to magazines, notebooks and everything in between, there was an abundance of time, and an opportunity to put it all in some sort of order.
I am not one to ever turn away any sort of reading material, but I never realized how many books I actually owned until I actually took the time to reorganize. A box was set aside for all of the baby books, bringing memories of some of the best bedtime stories––and for the books I’ve read too many times to count. When the library opens back up I’ll donate them for someone else to enjoy.
Reading has always been a great pastime and distraction. Now I can look forward to reading something new.
The Father-Daughter Pudding Adventure
By Alva Blair
Thursday morning, I got up from bed to hear my daughter and her father discussing plans to bake a sweet potato pudding. While I do a little baking, I had never made an attempt to make the Jamaican favorite. Apparently, they had talked about doing so previously and had decided to get it done that day.
I could hear them bustling about in the kitchen––cupboard doors opening and closing, the blender stopping and starting, my daughter telling her father that baking was a science, and they needed to follow instructions, him telling her that recipes were only guides and they had wiggle room.
My only contribution to this exercise was responding to their shouts of “Where’s the butter?” and “Can we use some of your special Christmas pudding fruit-soak?” (Is rum in it? Yes.)
Their collaboration was a resounding success. Not only was the texture just right, but it tasted marvelous.
As I listened to them going about in the kitchen that morning, I was filled with such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. The pandemic may have had us housebound, but we were together, and we were well.
Playing Video Games
By Justin Figueroa
We all need something that can brighten our days during these times. That “something” differs for each and every one of us and could range from binge-watching every new show on Netflix, to reorganizing your entire home, including that one bookshelf in your room that you forgot even existed. This has been no different for myself, as I’ve gone back to a hobby that I found myself not having a lot of time for with school; playing video games.
Prior to college, all I ever wanted to do was play video games as much as I could (after all my schoolwork, of course). Sometimes I would play games that lasted two hours, and sometimes I would play games that lasted 120 hours. When I first started college in Fall 2019, I couldn’t really do that anymore. I couldn’t sit down and let a game absorb me for hours upon hours because I had other responsibilities I had to worry about. All the new games I got kept piling on top of the ones I didn’t finish, and before I knew it, I still have games in the plastic from my birthday, April 24th, last year!
Now that we’re under quarantine and the semester is coming to a close, there’s never been a better time to go back to those games I never found the chance to open up. It’s about time I go back to that game that my best friend from high school let me borrow the same day of the 2019 Super Bowl, which I’m surprised he hasn’t murdered me in my sleep for still having. It’s about that time I go back to my old ways, and play the games that have waited to be played and finished for so long.
Building A Home Gym
By Connor Hikade
One bright thing for me is the home gym I’m building with my dad and my brother. During these times, we need some project, something productive to get our minds off all the despair and anxiety outside. We have been getting equipment and renovating the garage to make it our own space.
The gym for me is an escape in and of itself because that is MY time. I get to just be myself and work towards a goal,; that’s my favorite thing about it. You can always push yourself to become stronger or faster or whatever you want to be. So building this home gym to exercise at home is really good for keeping my mental health in check.
And the best part about it is just spending quality time building something with my brother and my dad. We never usually do projects like this, but we all have the same goal, so why not?
As of now, we are still working hard to complete it, and it looks better and better every day. Every time I look into that garage, I get filled with hope, knowing this will all be over soon.
Seeing the World Calm Down
By Jezel Tracey
Since quarantine 20 also known as COVID-19, it feels as though our globe has been covered with a sheet of darkness. Grey and rainy skies or not, outside no longer looks like a place of joy and exploration. Despite the depressing theories and questions about the pandemic’s duration, there is only “one bright thing” that allows me to have faith throughout these times.
This passage of light through all this darkness, is seeing the world calm down. Before the spread of this disease, there were the Amazon wildfires, global warming, and so much more. Although these catastrophic dangers haven’t gone entirely away, the main catalyst to these issues was the overdevelopment of humans. Always being on go, always trying to get something done was productive for our personal goals but was dangerous for the health of our environment.
Even though it might seem annoying, this time of rest was needed for the planet. Knowing that this global pandemic will bring a global benefit brings ease to my sanity and is a constant reminder as to why this vacation is not all that bad.
By Lexi Underwood
I have been seeing everybody find ways to cope during this pandemic, from making TikToks, to having live dance classes, or a workout class. I wanted to tap into myself as well. “Let’s go hiking,” I said to my boyfriend. I have been trying to become more active and since staying at home is all we do now, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather we were having and clear our minds.
The minute I started walking up that hill was the minute I forgot all about what was going on in the world, mainly because my focus was on my breathing because I realized that 1. I am out of shape and 2. I haven’t gone hiking since I was a kid. Yet, there I was, climbing that mountain. The higher I went up on the trail, the more I left my stress behind, which caused me to really pay attention to my surroundings: birds chirping, taking in all the amazing views we saw.
We didn’t even realize that we’ve been on this hike for about four hours. I had never felt more accomplished making it back down the trail, the push I gave myself not only physically but mentally. Once we made it back home and had to do our “Covid-19” whine down, I realized that the hike gave me more than what I was looking for. It showed me to enjoy what’s available to you and make the best out of a tough situation. Even though we are on this lockdown until everything is okay again, I now know to not stress about the things I can’t control but to fix the things I can control, which would be my mental health.
Detoxing in Nature
By Jack Jones
Being trapped in desolation with nothing but confined walls restricting you from the beauty of the outside world is enough to drive a normal person to the brink of insanity. Distant thoughts and memories rattle throughout my mind as I try to comprehend, let alone remember, the awe- inspiring feeling of levitating through the air, and punching the ball through the rim as I refine my dunking ability and creativity. The hundreds of tiny leather bumps surrounding the ball like goosebumps along your arms, have never seemed to be a remnant of my past, or even something that I have so desperately longed for… that is, until the pandemic essentially enveloped the globe in an inescapable bubble of disease.
In an attempt to fill the void of being able to defy gravity and incorporate showmanship and finesse in a predominantly physically demanding sport, I decided to embrace the gorgeous aesthetics that nature has so brilliantly created like a master painter meticulously filling his canvas with vibrant colors that resonate with their audience’s emotion. Instead of perceiving the outdoors as a unique venue for an endless amount of sporting events, I began to appreciate and value the detoxing ambiance that nature so effortlessly transmits.
As opposed to the mechanical hums, screams and growls of motor vehicles whizzing through Main Street at breakneck speeds, the delightful songs, chirps and melodies of harmonizing birds and insects reverberate through the town, as if to send messages of joy and prosperity to the hundreds of suffering and ill citizens across Trumbull. Luckily, the delightful ballad ushers in a recital of flowing, breezes and bouts of wind that dance in accordance with the tune of the now overabundant critters.
As I continue to stroll carelessly through the streets, the crisp and nipping smack of icy wind forces me to draw my attention towards the sky. Despite the memorizing and constantly transformative qualities of the sky, I’m typically left with an intense realization about our current crisis: Society is always fascinated or intrigued by the devastation, sadness or blue like qualities, however if we remain diligent and patient, that sense of blue will gradually dissipate, thus showcasing a vast array of bright stars, or the necessary “light at the end of the tunnel” that society definitely needs right now.
By Alana White
Cloudy dark skies that make you forget there is a sun. Cold droplets falling from high above. The sound of water making its way from the fluffy white to grey clouds down green leaves, then to cement. Loud roars coming from the sky as they please. The smell of nature and water put together into one. Relaxation. Something dull can be bright. Emotions, thinking, relaxation. Repeat.
I’m sure many can relate. Those who have a hard time expressing feelings tend to do better with that by watching and listening to rain. Rain has made me figure many things out just by simply helping me gather my emotions and get many things in order.
After my stressful emotions are gone and the heavy weight of not knowing how to feel releases from my shoulders the skies become sunny, the clouds become fluffy and white again, a beautiful rainbow presents itself across the sky, the world and myself seem to become bright all over again.
Rain is my emotional escape, rain is my comfort. And along with many other things, rain is part of my happiness.