Finding Joy Amid Pandemic’s Anxiety and Heartache (Photos)

Dr. Rubinstein gets a greeting from a fellow American passenger's dog, named Dumas, as people prepare to board a flight to Miami, Fla., from the Silvio Pettirossi airport in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, April 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

Joy is visible during the pandemic, just not with the usual, recognizable cues.

Is a laugh or smile any less heartwarming if it’s hidden from view? Are eye crinkles the new prompts of a smile covered by a mask?

Associated Press photographers, tasked with reporting on the crisis, have looked for bliss, as well. And amid so much heartache and anxiety, they’ve found it.

There’s no mistaking the kinship between humans and pets in the image taken in Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion, Paraguay. Dumas the Labrador doesn’t know the passenger heading to Miami, but they greet paw to hand and nose to nose.

Just being able to inhale deeply is a universal theme of contentment. In Beijing, after two months of staying inside, a man pushes aside his mask and throws his arms wide as he stands alone to enjoy spring among the cherry blossoms in Beijing’s Yuyuantan Park.

There is joy in marking milestones — and in the ingenuity it takes to do so, under the circumstances. Husband and wife in Annapolis, Maryland, marking their 56th wedding anniversary with a quiet at-home day of isolation, are surprised by family and friends with a honking convoy to celebrate.

And there remains joy in routine. Separated by balconies and ground-floor shouting distance, employees at the Vi at the La Jolla Village retirement complex in San Diego maintain nearly daily aerobics sessions. Senior residents participate from their patios, stories above.

There are other moments of exultation specific to this time: the ovations with which the public rewards health care workers for their kindness and courage, and their grateful response. Long after the words “social distancing” fade from memory, the sound of that applause will resound.

A medical worker from China’s Jilin Province, in red, embraces a colleague from Wuhan as she prepares to return home at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, April 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A couple laugh at the Gran Via avenue in downtown in Madrid, Spain, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
A man removes his mask to stretch and take a deep breath across from cherry blossoms at the Yuyuantan Park in Beijing on March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Nightbird Restaurant chef and owner Kim Alter, left, mimics giving a hug to nurse practitioner Sydney Gressel, center, and patient care technician Matt Phillips after delivering dinner to them at University of California at San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A woman smiles after receiving a palm frond from a Cristo Rey brotherhood member during Palm Sunday in Guatemala City, April 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
Ahmed Khaled al-Kaabi and his bride Ruqaya Rahim celebrate their wedding in Najaf, Iraq, April 9, 2020, the hardest hit town by coronavirus in the country where government banned large public gatherings. Unwilling to postpone the wedding, al-Kaabi asked the local security forces to help him wed his beloved. The police responded by providing the groom vehicles blasting music to bring his bride to the family home for a small celebration of just six people. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)
Health workers react as people applaud from their nearby houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Jimenez Diaz Foundation University Hospital in Madrid, Spain, April 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Residents take a selfie with the firefighter Elielson Silva playing his trumpet, after he performed from the top of a very tall ladder for residents cooped up at home during a lockdown to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Pepita Jove Puiggros, 92, holds the hand of home care nurse Laura Valdes during a visit in Barcelona, Spain, April 2, 2020. Puiggros lives alone and receives food deliveries from a social service agency three days a week, but the deliveries have become more unpredictable amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)