Everything becomes not taken for granted.
Breathing, to start. Maybe, like me, you aren't a Buddhist, or especially mindful, and so weren't paying a lot of attention to your breathing. But now perhaps you are. Still breathing. Pretty good deal, isn't it?
Then there's the sky. Wide and gray or blue, or white and blue, it's there. This majestic semicircle. Always changing, providing a new palette. A fresh drama of curiously-shaped clouds that move sometimes, sometimes don't. A sky that can be a wide wash of gray or a clear azure. That can erupt in jagged white bolts followed by jump-inducing thunder. A sky that can send our roots rain.
Let me not forget light. I mean the opposite of darkness. The slow drawing aside of the night's curtain every morning to reveal the sun's emergence. Not much is reliable these days. In fact, is anything reliable? The sun is. I use its steadfastness every day to give me an anchor. Once again, there it is. Climbing upward. Unfaltering.
The senses. W.H. Auden called them "Precious Five." Sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste. What these times have made abundantly clear is that death is real, it's near, it's possible. The place I put death in my daily life before this was somewhere in the remote part of the Outer Banks of my mind. Not anymore. So, seeing things. Smelling things. Tasting things, touching and hearing things. With gratitude.
If this situation has done anything, it's stopped time. Or slowed it down considerably. Forced not to do most everything we used to do, we're left to observe and experience what is directly before us, in every sense.
For those of us who are not sick or struggling, a gift many of us had forgotten.