Looking Up: Silver Linings and Reflections From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Looking Up: Silver Linings and Reflections From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

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Published June 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 9, 2021 at 4:55 p.m.

  • Matt Douglas
There's no sugar-coating it: The pandemic has sucked. But Vermonters are a resilient group, and even amid the darkest days of lockdown found creative ways to stay connected and hopeful. Read on for some of the small moments that lifted spirits in communities around the state, and for observations of positive outcomes that emerged in an otherwise dreary time.

Was there a silver lining for you?

  • Matt Douglas
Exploring Vermont
Without my weekends scheduled, I was able to explore and see a lot more of Vermont ... The highlights included biking the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, hiking at Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park, the single-chair foliage ride at Mad River Glen and Canteen Creemee in Waitsfield, and skating the Lake Morey ice skating trail.
— Whitney Feininger, Burlington

Less pollution

That's about the only good thing you could say about it. Seeing places with terrible air quality suddenly be breathable due to the lack of traffic shows how nature can fight back.
— Ted Adler, Burlington

Spending more time with pets

Finally got a dog!
— Mara Iverson, Montpelier

  • Matt Douglas
Slower pace of life

So important for all of us living on this planet to stop, breathe and find ways to be comfortable in stillness. Remember all the animals that came out for the first time in a long time! And how clean the air was. Truly life-altering.
— Nancy Riege, Greensboro

Clarity about what matters

The pandemic forced us apart, yet offered a big pause in the hectic pace of daily life, for people and the planet. Appreciating the many and varied hardships, we had time with ourselves, with the people in our pods — time to think about what really matters, what it means to be human and to truly take care of each other and our communities. And we all experienced the pandemic — a rare event with impact of some kind on everyone.
— Sarah Gentry Tischler, St. George

  • Matt Douglas
Working from home

I had my best garden ever, discovered dozens of bird species that I've been living alongside and had time in the morning to pick up a new hobby of watercolor painting. I miss the people, but I don't miss the extra two hours of my day taken up by getting ready and driving.
— Katrina Meyers, Colchester

What memorable moment or experience made you feel most connected to your community?

Biden celebration - FILE: LUKE AWTRY
  • File: Luke Awtry
  • Biden celebration
Biden's Win

The car honking that occurred when Biden was declared president. People were driving around hanging out of cars celebrating.
— Olivia Taylor, Burlington

Sunset pot-banging

In Vergennes, we grew to a townwide "bang and clang" parade every evening at 7 p.m. I was stunned when we'd made it to 50 straight days with multiple blocks participating!
— Sivan Cotel, Vergennes

Disco Ball/Drag Ball - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • Disco Ball/Drag Ball

Winter Is a (Virtual) Drag Ball
This experience of having the Drag Ball — an annual treat that I was worried we'd miss — pulled together online, with entertainers from all over the state and nation, was genuinely touching and sweet ... I got to see Vermont's arts community come together for a good cause. I cried and laughed, and it felt like a solid through line from 2020 into the future.
— Peter Jacobsen, Burlington

Front Porch Forum
It was amazing to watch residents ask for help and see how quickly and generously other residents responded!
— Johanna Nichols, Montpelier

S.D. Ireland's Holiday Parade
They drove their Christmas-decorated cement truck through the neighborhood, honking the horn and wishing happy holidays. The kids and we adults loved it!
— Kevin and Lisa Cruser, South Burlington

Getting my vax at the DoubleTree. In the room where many a conference or Comic-Con has been held, it was surreal walking in to see the Guard and Richmond Rescue running such a smooth operation of vaccines. I was weeping with gratitude and pride in Vermont as I waited to get my shot.
— Llu Mulvaney-Stanak (aka DJ Llu), Burlington

  • Dreamstime

Mask compliance
People on the streets, in stores, on the trail, wearing masks and keeping distance. No fuss, no whining, no invective, no vitriol, no conspiracy theories, even if we don't like it much. People just do it because it's the right thing for our community. This is what makes VT great.
— Kathryn Trinkaus, Burlington

Vermont State Parks
In the midst of the pandemic, hiking with other Vermonters, even with distancing, made us feel like a community.
— Diane Tayeby, Charlotte

Waking Windows 2020
They held an online version of the music fest in May 2020 and delivered pizza to me and a whole bunch of other people to keep the pizza party tradition going. It was the best.
— Robyn Baylor, South Burlington

  • Diane Sullivan ©️ Seven Days

Editor note: To choose Vermont's Pandemic All-Stars, we surveyed our readers on the people, places and programs that kept them going — and going — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Space limitations prevented us from recognizing every pick worthy of public praise."