'Groundhog's Day' has new resonance

These days, I find myself waking up to what sometimes feels like one long day on repeat. As our routines have changed, the days have a way of blending together. Occasionally, I have to remind myself what day of the week it actually is. I watched the movie "Groundhog Day" recently, which, in light of the COVID 19 quarantine, has taken on a slightly new meaning to me.

This classic old movie imagines a moment when a cynical local weatherman, Phil Connors, gets caught in a time loop. Connors, played by Bill Murray, is forced to repeatedly relive the same day. Along the way Connor's soul begins to evolve as his perspective changes. As his relationship with time is altered, Connors adds meaning to his days by spending time caring for people and starting new hobbies like piano lessons, reading poetry and ice sculpting. Eventually, Connors begins to invest his time in the things he can carry forward from day to day.

On a Zoom call with some of my college friends, one friend asked the group a good question that had me thinking: "Is there any one thing that is saving you these days?"

Personally, I am not sure that there is one consistent thing. Instead I have found it to be more of a mindset. As time passes, I - like Connors - have begun to appreciate my hobbies a bit more.

Unless homeschooling counts, I haven't picked up any new interests, yet. Instead I have been focusing on the people and things that I love. I have created a new vegetable and herb garden. This spring I turned my basement office into a mini greenhouse and now that the weather is warm, we have planted all of our little seedlings. My young daughters have been fascinated watching our seedlings grow.

The other thing that has been keeping us connected has been baking. I love to cook, but baking bread was something I used to reserve for special occasions and holidays. Now that we have found ourselves with more time at home, we - like so many others - have been baking bread. All that kneading has a way of smoothing the rough edges of one's thoughts. My kindergartner Alyssa particularly loves kneading bread and is becoming quite the baker. We are now routinely making our own pizza dough, French bread and biscuits. It's been a welcome and delicious distraction, something to look forward to and enjoy together.

This pandemic certainly has its Punxsutawney moments. Has the groundhog ever predicted a long summer? At times this new normal still feels surreal. Our sense of time and habits have been upended. I wonder what new hobbies and interests we will explore to fend off summer pandemic stress? As my perspective on time changes, I am still looking for the silver linings. What has been saving me is knowing I'm not the only one. Ultimately, it's the small things that I appreciate most. The moments that make us laugh, bring us joy and draw us closer together.

- Amy McCauley of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].