Darien resident Daniel Coonan, father of three, has given The Darien Times to reprint his journal entries going forward as he battles with the symptoms of COVID-19. To read the full journal, go here.

Sunday, April 5 — Popcorn

I woke up this morning and ran through the usual:

Headache: check

Fatigue: check

Shortness of breath, tight chest, cough: check, check, check

Today was the first day since last Saturday that I didn’t wake up with new COVID symptoms. So I guess that’s good news — time to have two tumblers of coffee like every morning this week.

I can’t smell it and I can barely taste it (like hot, bitter water), but it helps with the headache.

I sat on the usually ornamental chair on the top floor by the open window and stared through the screen at the cherry blossom tree in our front yard. I noted previously that biology isn’t my strongest subject, and neither is arboriculture (I had to look that word up). By comparing photos from last spring with those online, my best guess is that the tree is a Japanese Somei Yoshino — but I could be dead wrong because a lot of cheery blossoms pictures look the same to me.

This being the third year we have lived in the house, the short period that this tree is in full bloom is something I’ve circled on my mental calendar. You can see the small buds start to grow and develop in March followed by the deep, burgundy florets that slowly extend and almost appear to be the flowers themselves.

Suddenly, relative to “tree time,” the florets burst open into shockingly bright white petals — so my family calls it the popcorn tree. And it started popping today. Over the next few days it will turn fully white for about a week, give or take, only for the petals to be swept away and replaced with stronger green leaves.

So today I sat and glanced at the first petals that bloomed on the tree while my children sat in its shadow drinking imaginary tea out of homemade pottery. The metaphor and reality of the frailty and fleeting nature of life sat side by side in my driveway as I looked down from the window.

Lookout! Cherry blossom cliché.

This virus is causing each and every one of us, ill or not, to miss out on moments in life that we can never get back — and that’s very profound. The next time the popcorn tree blossoms I hope I’m outdoors with my children for their tea party.

And that none of us will fail to appreciate the small things that brighten our day…like the smell of coffee.