A guest post on the blog after ages… This one is by a dear friend/ Wildlife traveller, a woman who has strong thoughts and a kind heart- Shabnam of Wildlife Whisperer

Over the last couple of weeks, the human world as we know it has slowly, grudgingly come to a halt. The lockdown of bustling towns and cities, the closure of air spaces, the retreat of humans within their walls, all unimaginable, and yet happened. The change was so abrupt that no one had the chance to prepare for it, as if any preparation would have been enough. And as most of us retreated into our homes, so as to stem the spread of the virus, and flatten the curve, we realised how privileged we were to have houses to retreat into, to have resources that would tide us over the initial 21-day lockdown. The spirit though, in a number of cases, was not as well-stocked as our kitchen and refrigerators.

My office had started the policy of work from home a week before the national lockdown. So the decision to stay indoors was not abrupt for me. It more felt like a choice we had consciously made and prepared for. Not like the forced national lockdown that happened a week later.

In the initial days then, when I went down to buy groceries, I saw the streets littered with fallen leaves and flowers, and as I appreciated the colours of nature, I also observed how things were falling and roads not being swept as regularly as before.

 


Photo by Jatin Gandhi

I felt a kind of desolation of things crumbling around, especially as the lockdown happened. Adding to the misery was the people who moved across the country en masse, struggling for survival. With each passing day that we were locked in our premises, not daring to step out, I just kept seeing the tress get more barren each day, till the last of them had fallen.

And then one day, standing in our balcony, taking pictures of birds, I noticed tiny leaves sprout on the barren trees.  It then dawned on me that while I was lamenting on the loss of leaves and flowers, nature had silently followed its course and spring had tip-toed into our part of the world. That tiny defiant leaf gladdened by the soul like no other thing could in the circumstances. Slowly I started observing trees and the birds more, and everyone seemed to be celebrating the advent of spring. Spring, an indicator that change is eternal.

We humans have to trust and believe in eternal change. No winter lasts forever. Spring in assured. What we do need to do in this period of hibernation, is mull over what parts of our earlier ‘normal’ lives we need to get back to. With a strong lesson that it is incumbent on us to make choices that are right for humans and the environment. Nature will bloom and grow, even in lockdown. Our only choice is whether we want to bloom too. If winter has the courage to let go, thaw and turn into spring, so do we.

Before the lockdown humans had prepared global agendas, travelled from one end of the world to the other, to save the planet, to reduce rising temperatures, to arrest climate change. All of which had led to results, but despite decades of action platforms in existence, the goal-posts kept changing. However, when nature took the decision to reboot, it did it in one sweep. And it has been much more effective than all human interventions put together.

Nature then is resilient as no other and we need to learn to change and adapt to seasons, as does every species on this planet. Prepare for change, as birds and animals do, and accept with open hearts and minds the beauty of every passing phase. I do understand that it is easier said than done, and that whilst in normal routine most of us are always in a hurry to reach places and get things done, to tick checkboxes, this forced stay at home has not been easy to adapt to. However, I also hope that this period of hibernation has inculcated in us gratitude for smaller pleasures that we take for granted. And that we are considering refocusing our priorities.

Would like to end this blog with a conversation I had with my 7-year-old niece, once the lockdown got extended by a couple of weeks. I was telling her that perhaps the 2nd lockdown could also get extended, and she immediately shrieked no. I told her she has the ideal life, her dad is at home, she can work on laptop as she always wanted to, and watch television more than before. And she said she wanted to go to school. I chided her that everyone had to push around her to get her ready in time for school. But she promised to never ever complain about school. She realised why it was so important for her.

May this lockdown period give all of us a realisation of what is really important in our lives, and that moving forward we renew our lives and our priorities. After all, if not us then who, and if not now then when. Spring is a hope and promise, of survival and renewal…