I have lost track of how many days or even exact weeks this dreaded invisible disease has been floating its way into the lives of our country. It seems months. January, February, March, April and now May will tag along. People are desperate for social company, our cell phones are always in use, and those who must go out are always in danger. I feel a deep sadness toward families who have lost their loved ones, never able to say goodbye or hold a hand at the final moment. That pain is so human it crosses all boundaries.

Why then, do I say thank you for this trouble?

Two days ago, the Himalayan mountains were seen for the first time in 30 years from Northern India due to the shut down and decrease in pollution in Punjab, India. The highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro, freed of smog, was viewed from an airplane approaching Tanzania. COVID-19, the disease that ravages our lungs, shut down the polluting factories and vehicles. Now, we can breathe.

Clearly, our fragile world couldn’t take any more. Simply (or over-simply) stated: God or nature, whichever pleases one’s philosophy, is cutting a severe Spring Cleaning to save Earth. Here in my suburban home in the Midwest state of Missouri, I too have been squawking about dragging my sponge, broom, or dustpan to clean up or clean out my house. Tired of watching “death numbers” on TV or re-runs, I turn to the never ending battle of hidden clutter in drawers, closets, cabinets, my basement.

I have become closer to friends as everyone wants to talk or text, and I talk to my children who live out of town. We enjoy remote dinners together as I sing to my toddler grandson as he eats. When he calls out, “Nonna?” over FaceTime, I joyfully exclaim, “Here I am!” He grins. I melt.

I have noticed skies are brighter blue, when it is sunny. Birds seem to fly higher, grass seems greener and the air is easier to breathe. Our world has gained a valuable gift. I hope it will be cherished, because it was earned by a ravage of death, loss and hard lessons.