A tentative connection formed in my mind. One piece was a NPR story about CPE Bach, whom I had never heard of. I felt the speaker’s appreciation for this Bach — I dare say, I appreciated his appreciation in a way that echoed later, with an article about an Edward Hopper picture I might not have looked at twice, certainly not with the eye of the reviewer, or his enthusiasm. Why, I wondered, do these pieces seem different from countless others I read every day?
Is my reaction connected to the way my neighbors speak to each other now? No longer the quick “how’s it going?” as we pass each other, but a more concerned “how are you coping?” paired with a pause and eye contact. Mind you, we are not “essential,” which is to say, we are comfortable and safe, so why the concern? What has changed — what’s gone or arrived that makes us appreciate … more.