This spring, each walk I take feels like an escape. Each gift of spring has become a treasure: yellow forsythia bushes, pink magnolia flowers, a gentle breeze, warm sunshine, fat robins. Each tiny, green, unfurling leaf is a miracle.
Nature, as always, is providing comfort while the ravages of our new invisible enemy, COVID-19, spread around the world. This spring, as we isolate in our homes, we have found a greater appreciation for humanity. The acts of ordinary people are compassionate and heartwarming. The acts of health care workers and all essential workers are heroic.
Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. There weren’t any large public celebrations, but that’s OK. This year, the Earth and its creatures are quietly celebrating in their own way.
In the few short months that the coronavirus has interrupted humanity’s habitual way of life, the Earth has been going about its own business quite well without us. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen drastically. Seismologists have noted less rumbling of the Earth’s surface. Noise levels have decreased in urban centres, and underwater noise has been reduced.
The world is never going to be the same after COVID-19. As humans struggle to stay healthy, cope with illness, deal with the loss of loved ones, and keep afloat financially, it’s a comfort to know that nature knows what it’s doing. It’s my hope that we will emerge from this crisis with more compassion for each other, and for our planet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that we’re adaptable. We can work from home, drive less and appreciate the simple pleasures more. We can connect with loved ones without meeting face to face. When the pandemic is over, I hope that we can extend the compassion we’ve found for each other to compassion for our environment.
Nature has sustained us during this trying time and provided beauty, comfort, peace and solace in a world turned upside down. Let’s remember nature and vow to treat her better when things return to the new normal.
Ellen Niemer, Surrey