Magical Moments in the “Not Normal”


Last week we celebrated Easter–Resurrection Day. When I went outside in my garden, the hyacinths were in bloom and there was even a butterfly on the blossoms. Spring was coming! After such a long winter, I was more than ready. A gardener friend told me it was unusual to see a butterfly this early in the season.


On my walk, I reveled in the robins bobbing along the ground, the magnolia bush with its delicate blossoms.


This was the world before COVID-19. Full of hope, full of life, expecting spring to come. (I speak metaphorically, as obviously COVID-19 hit well before April 12.)

Then, on April 15: SNOW! And on April 17: even more snow!

Here’s our home after the snowfalls.

Snow in the middle of April is NOT “normal,” even in the Midwest.

It felt like, “When will spring ever come? What will happen to the daffodils and the hyacinths?”

(It feels like, “When will this tiresome shelter-in-place ever end?)

And yet . . . when I went on my walk, I was struck by the unusual beauty of snow on green plants and daffodils, and on the tree branches.

I don’t have a video or a picture of what happened next, because it happened too quickly.

As I walked along the side of our tree-lined street, suddenly the wind blew, and big blobs of snow from the trees rained down all around me. It was not like regular snowflakes; these were much larger, and they were beautiful.

It was a magical moment, especially as I lifted my head to look up, and the snow blobs gently fell on my head and face. Somehow it felt like a blessing.

I would not have experienced this magical moment apart from this unwanted snowstorm that came when I was longing for spring. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it!

I didn’t miss it because I did not hole up inside, pouting about the snow, sighing over what it might do to the flowers. I was present. Present to whatever the moment would bring.

I went out to experience and discover whatever was, rather than what I wanted it to be.

So I got my magical moment. A moment in time when the unexpected happened–an unusual snow shower, exquisitely beautiful, at a time when it “shouldn’t” have been snowing, according to “normal” expectations.

Now, during this unprecedented shutdown of spring 2020, there is no “normal.” We are in an unusual time, an exceptional time, a perplexing time, even a fearful time. A very “not normal” time.

But I’m convinced that even in this unusual, exceptional, perplexing and even a fearful “not normal” time, there are gifts. Gifts that wouldn’t be possible in more “normal” times.

What “magical moment” might be there for you, right now, right here, even in this time of not normal shutdown?

Grab them. Look for them. Write them down daily. Savor them.

And remember–this too shall pass. By the end of the day on the second day of snow, the several inches of snow were melted. We did not have to shovel the driveway.

And the daffodils, heads bowed in peaceful submission, still showed strong and beautiful.

This unusual, exceptional, perplexing and fearful time will not last forever. We will get through this. There will be a new “normal.”

What “magical moments” have you experienced, even in the midst of the “not normal”?

Share your stories below, or on my Facebook page!



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Carol Abbott

As I take my little lovable schnoodle, a dog we rescued from the street three years ago, on yet another walk, I am feeling closer to her than ever before, even as though I’m only now really getting to know her. Seeing her at various times throughout her ordinary day, I’m living in her world now. She is beyond enthusiastic and excited at all times to have so much of our attention. I think about all the times before when she waited alone just to see us again. I’ve never seen her so happy and fulfilled. She is in heaven!… Read more »

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