WASHINGTON — How does one find joy in a pandemic? For that matter, how does one spark joy amid the non-stop news, isolation, indignities of the virus, and its stranglehold on society?
In the nation’s capital, joy is sometimes found by looking in the most familiar of places. Or rather, it’s often found by searching within the most treasured of tableaus – the National Mall.
On a sun-splashed afternoon, with hints of summer sending socially-distanced denizens onto the storied paths, WUSA9 asked a simple question, “tell us what sparks joy for you now?”
The question was asked by placing a microphone more than six feet away from a camera and a reporter, with a whiteboard inviting anyone to share stories of what sparks joy in them – during this historic moment.
Below is a selection of four interviews from WUSA9’s first conversation on sparking joy in the coronavirus pandemic on April 8, 2020.
Danny Ahern - Logan Circle Resident
“What sparks joy, is, this little man, right here,” Ahern said, pointing to his young son, Seamus.
“There’s little things that you have to find, right? Because all of our lives are upended, no one’s doing what they usually do.”
On cue, Seamus Ahern starts to jump for joy, near his small bike laid on the gravel.
“Something like this sparks joy,” Ahern continued. “He has a lot of joy in him, right?”
Seamus bounced around, meeting his dad at the microphone.
“Hop, hop, hop!” the boy exclaimed.
Kourtney Fink - Alexandria Resident
Fink is a Navy Sailor, who sees reports of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and exudes compassion for her fellow service members.
But in this moment, she is glad to be out of the confines of a cramped ship, joined by her two dogs, in a spectacular setting.
“This walk itself is sparking joy,” Fink Began.
“I really enjoy that we live in a city that has so much history. I get to take my pups out, and they get to learn about it. Because I force that kind of stuff on them, all the time.”
Faith Wilson - Back from college in Michigan
Wilson’s year studying in Michigan ended abruptly, yet she has no complaints, treasures her health, and equally treasures the friends with whom she picnics (at an appropriate distance).
She’s devoted this time towards self-improvement, in at least one area that’s slightly unconventional for a Gen Z college student.
“I've been quilting, just to stay busy,” she casually remarked.
“Yeah, I’ve learned to quilt. Didn’t know how to do it before. I’m working out, too. But at a time like this, joy comes from helping yourself grow. Self-care, if we’re lucky enough to stay at home.”
Brandon Bell - Navy Yard Resident
Self-improvement carried on to an American University grad who fell in love with D.C., and found the microphone as he jogged the Mall with leopard compression shorts – to make a statement.
“It’s all about making a statement, of course!” he joked. “But I just learned how to play piano as my own kind of statement against this virus. I can play ‘Hey Jude,’ the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme, and a couple other songs.”
“This is what you have to be doing during this time,” Bell said. “Sparking joy to improve yourself, and your corner of the world.”