- Author: Lowell Cooper
It's the way things work.
At a time like this pandemic, it is difficult for me to tell myself that this is part of the bigger picture of how the natural world works. Everything feels very unnatural. I (and I assume that I am not the only one to feel this) never went through a period of such prolonged distancing and isolation. It is like some giant punishment. But at the same time:
We noticed to resident doves eating and softly cooing and probably living in our wisteria in the garden.
Our olive tree is bursting with olive fruit with big promises for the mid-Fall harvest.
Annuals are putting on their regular display – cosmos, petunias, and dahlias – quietly showing off.
Lots of black bees enjoying the flowers and there are lots of bees busily at work.
Two beautiful orioles making tentative visits the hummingbird feeders for the first time.
And I even spied a large garden snake poking around.
There are many other signs of life. It all seems quite under the coronavirus radar. So while our mundane human existence is turning upside down, the natural order seems quite intact, indeed, natural. I find this very reassuring that in the midst of national tragedy, political conspiracy theories, and an atmosphere of profound uncertainty about health maintenance outside of my home, on another level it is business as usual.
What is to be learned from all this? For me, this social isolation has given me a chance to see another part of my daily life which I usually take for granted and move past all too quickly. I am not the meditative sort so it almost catches me by surprise to see and hear the hummingbirds. Since the pandemic is likely going to be with us for a long time, nature unfolds, cycles, and makes her presence known everywhere but quietly. As the smog disappears, low and behold there is sky and stars., These sites and events get lost and don't command time on Fox, NPR, and other mass media, but nature doesn't need the publicity right now since isolating in place gives me an opportunity to turn up my internal focus on what is around me all the time and the volume is there and I can attend to it.
When given a pandemic lemon, I choose as much as I can to enjoy the natural lemonade.