The 2023 Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) is on Sunday, December 31, 2023. Yes, this…
As I write this piece in early April, our future activities for the next two months are completely up in the air. We know that in May we will not have a Bird Walk and that cancellation of the Program Meeting is a strong possibility. Theoretically, at this point, June will be planned as the time gets closer and we know our ability to gather safely for community activities.
One thing we do know is that we are in the most unique and terrible of times right now. The human population of the world is struggling to survive both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic/societal collapse due to repercussions of this illness. It is overwhelming, really. Our past experiences have not prepared us for the type of news we hear and see each day. Present day humans have never before been thrown into this global pot of pandemic risk. The stay-at-home orders are universal in population centers. All those millions of people are responding to the need to shelter in place. To NOT spread the disease, we need to protect others, our loved ones, and ourselves!
I have always felt that humanity can come together with resolve if the need is great enough. Even though the COVID-19 death and illness toll is mind-boggling, can we learn that this is a new world order? Our world is one place that we all share, and we all share the desire to survive and thrive. We also share this with our fellow inhabitants. The plants we depend upon for oxygen and food, and the animals that we co-habit the earth with. Pollinators, beneficial bacteria, fungi, everything has a purpose and a role in this world. Keeping humans safe from harm includes protecting other forms of life as well. The original source of this novel, deadly, virus was a wild meat market in Wuhan where animals were thrown together in adjacent cages in a stew of viral, fungal, and bacterial hot pot. Can we remember how this started and change the formula for that behavior? Can we learn new behaviors based on the risks we now all have learned to fear? In spite of that fear, can we help to reshape our future? Can we learn how to be kinder, gentler stewards of this beautiful earth we inhabit?
If not now…when? When my mind feels like it is ready to explode with questions, I search outside for the calming sound of birds and the wafting scents of grass and flowers blooming. I still find my peace and calm in nature. Time spent in my veggie garden and walking the dogs each day, keeps me going. The renewal of the growing season of the earth seems to sweep away the fear for a while. I still hope for the successful nesting of swallows and bluebirds in our nest boxes. What can we do but live the life we are given? Sharing with and caring for others, including our non-human neighbors, keeps the meaning and preciousness of life intact. In this COVID-19 backlash, I’m thankful for my family, friends and fellow inhabitants, each one of them…and each one of you!