Every night at 7 p.m. for the past 3 weeks, New Yorkers have gone out on their balconies (or leaned out their windows) to applaud, holler and cheer in support of the doctors, nurses and EMT who are on the front lines in this battle against Covid-19. After the first few weeks of applauding and yelling, I decided I needed to amplify my expression of gratitude. So, now I bang on pots or a cardboard box with a wooden spoon. (My husband clanks a metal slotted spoon against our balcony railing.) The nightly ritual has become a bright spot in my day. And, judging by the smiles and waves from the neighbors across the street and up the block, I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I think we’re applauding as much for each other as for all of the essential workers who are keeping the city running.

Expression of Gratitude – New Illustration

Tonight, these two dearies stood for 5 minutes on the street below our apartment adding their applause to the cacophony:

Colored pencil and watercolor The Art of Gratitude illustration by Joana Miranda

(Needless to say, I was moved by the sight.)

Which leads me to remark that it’s the simplest acts of gratitude that sometimes feel the most profound. For obvious reasons, most of us can’t afford extravagant gestures of gratitude right now. But we can do small ones, often. And, with loads of time to kill, maybe now would be a good time to start a gratitude journal. I, for one, am grateful when I see “feel good” stories published like this one about a 101-year old man who has survived the coronavirus. Not to mention that silly memes like this one provide a laugh AND also serve as an important reminder that thanking ourselves should be on our gratitude lists, too!


Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

Zig Ziglar

P.S. If you enjoy my illustrations, please visit my porfolio at Behance to see more!


  1. Helen Reich says:

    But are there ever essential workers around to acknowledge the applause? We posted a special bassoon thing on FB to honor healthcare workers, but I don’t know who’s seen it. Only comments from musicians 🙁 Oh well. I’m grateful for our social media committee, because right now, it’s almost the only social life I have!

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      I’ve wondered if there are any health care workers around to hear our nightly applause. I did yell THANK YOU! down to one of the delivery boys who was pulling up on his bike, but he looked totally confused. Even if there aren’t many health care workers around to hear us, there have certainly been enough people videoing and posting to Social Media so I’m sure word has gotten around.

      I got really annoyed at the world today after reading the news. (Well, mostly annoyed at Agent Orange, and also our governor and NYC Mayor who haven’t learned to play nicely in the sandbox.) Really? Turf wars are consuming their attention right now? What a shame!

      I hope you have a great week!
      xox – Joana

      • Helen Reich says:

        Well, it would help if the moron-in-chief weren’t actively working against his own citizens. I seriously think some of the problems are deliberately aimed at large blue states. Seems cynical, but not sure it is…..

        • Joana says:

          Hi Helen,

          Yes, the M.I.C should definitely have his mic taken away! 😉 I glanced at the news tonight (always a bad idea before bedtime!) and saw his latest inflammatory tweets. Sigh. I don’t think you’re being cynical. Let’s just hope people will finally tire of the constant circus come November.

          xox – Joana

  2. Sharon Miranda says:

    Oh how very sweet this post is! I’m grateful for YOU and Marta and Andy and PUCK! And chocolate.
    xoxoxo MM

    • Joana says:

      I think chocolate should be FIRST on that list. Hee-hee!

      xox – J

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