Due to COVID-19….
Many of us have seen the start to that sentence. I know I have started to glaze over the warning, whether it is about delays, reduced hours, special instructions, or whatever the case may be. It is, however, something that unites all of us on every continent: a pandemic the world over has changed the way we see one another, for better or for worse.
I hope it will be for the better. As we see numbers of deaths increase, we all acutely feel loss. No one has ever not felt loss. Perhaps it wasn’t caused by the pandemic, but loved ones have come into our lives and then left, and the gift of their presence was all too brief. I have seen the phrase “common humanity” so often, but it doesn’t quite capture all that we feel as we experience comings and goings.
Such is the way I feel about the seasons and the creatures I can’t always get to know. They’re acquaintances and imaginary friends, I suppose, but I still want them in my life. I live in a city that boasts some green spaces, and I am close to one such space. Some of the creatures strayed out of Beatrix Potter’s books, like Benjamin Bunny, newly weaned, although he is getting bigger by the day: he shares, with local bees, the clover and weeds in the lawn. Goldfinches coquettishly flock at a feeder in my yard and coyly ask, “Who, me?” Starlings chase them from the feeder, but then squirrels, in turn, take their place, only to be foiled by a slippery feeder cover and a coiled spring that bounces them to the ground. Then the replay button is pressed and the flirty, flighty yellow birds are back.
Then there is the skunk. And the groundhog. I have heard coyotes cry out in the night. Yet all these creatures are part of something larger.
This is why I started this page with that phrase many of us have seen. Due to COVID-19, we are part of something larger, but it’s only the latest reminder in a long list of warnings. Our climate has been telling us for quite some time that it has had quite enough of our shenanigans—odd, that word seems far too playful to use.
The truth is we are in trouble. The beautiful planet we inhabit is finding our habits difficult to live with. Too many creatures are leaving due to the mess. We need to clean our rooms and pick up our toys.
Maybe we should have less screen time and more wondering time, and more wonder about comings and goings of species, the gift of their presence all too brief, before we lose too many.
I hope you will enjoy the beautiful artwork presented by my dear friend Yvette, who gets lost in the details she sees around her, who ponders the intricate systems that connect us to our world. I also hope you will enjoy the story that I have attempted to retell from my daughter’s imagination. Her ability to connect with creatures imaginary and real are my true inspiration for this book.
PS. I will be checking in now and again, so be sure to come back to this site as we share our stories with one another.