When you lose - don't lose the lesson. Dalai Lama
At various times throughout our lives, we are all of us, awed by nature. It might be we are standing on an escarpment looking across the vastness of the plains below. It could be we are looking up the side of a giant Redwood or looking from the shoreline at the massive, powerful waves hitting the land or simply watching the sunset. Or indeed, viewing the staggering pictures of space from the thirty-year-old this week, Hubble Telescope. We all, at different times in our lives, experience the feeling of how small and insignificant we are, compared to raw nature.
Viewing the COVID 19 virus through this lens, as nature in the raw, gives a slightly different perspective. Seeing how frightened populations at large become at the devastation it can cause to family life, and witnessing the grief and suffering families have to endure because of the death this virus inflicts is heartwrenching. The damage it is reeking on economies around the world, mainly the first world is secondary, certainly at the moment. The order of the day is - Survival.
In essence, because we are virtually defenceless, it has left me, amongst millions, feeling, not just insignificant, but humbled also. I suppose I fall into the category of high risk. I would be sad to die at this moment in time - I still have responsibilities to fulfil, unfinished business and things I still want to do and see. And yet so many human beings, I am sure, far more deserving of life than people like me, have died, and many more relatives and loved ones have been left suffering because of this.
Like our front-line troops who we send to war, so our medical professionals are in the firing line. Where danger is most intense, and the unseen virus can attack without warning and without favour. Seeing these heroic Doctors, Nurses, Carers and ancillary workers rush to aid the sick is humbling. Similar I feel, to watching film of the hero's rushing the beaches during the Normandy Landings, unsure if they would survive themselves, witnessing their friends and colleagues dying around them, but still battling on. Hero's - every single one of them. Their courage inspiring generations to come, just like the three hundred Spartans.
The difference, of course, is that we are unable to harm the enemy. Also, rather than the population being mobilised as in war, in order to aid the war effort, we are all told and encouraged to stay at home and do nothing. For many people, people of action, this is hard. In this case, the way to help - is to stay home. Isolate.
Throughout history, there have been well-documented pandemics, killing living souls by the thousands, even hundreds of thousands. Nature is always at work, sometimes aggressively, sometimes passively. We may think we as human beings, top of the food chain, are mighty and unassailable, that we can defy nature, but only for a time. Nature will always have the last say. However, In every catastrophe, there lies an opportunity. We have a chance here to re-evaluate how we live and interact with our world.
Some will say this is piffle and ridicule the very idea of mankind not being in charge of nature or it taking retribution. But we are infinitesimally small in this universe. Despite what some of us may believe, humans do not control everything. Nature does not take revenge; it just never stands still. It, like time itself, is always moving, and it is more powerful and stronger than most of us can understand.
Nature is constant and moves with cause and effect. Humankind can certainly destroy but creating is different. Harnessing rather than using is where we should be heading. Simple math should tell us that no one can keep taking without putting back. Eventually, you run out, and there is nothing to take anymore.
From the indigenous tribes of old; the Aborigines, the Lakota Sioux, the Bushman of the Kalahari - too many to mention here, they all knew the unwritten truth of life, and they translated it into storeys so as to understand the world around them. Some may mock these stories, but there is, more often than not, an underlying truth that we, in all our glorious, superior civilisation, have discounted or forgotten.
The simple truths of life - that death is part of life - that all life everywhere is connected - that all this life is why and how we survive on Earth - that we need, not just each other but all the microcosms of life around us in order to survive. That we all must understand and respect this truth.
Trampling carelessly through the world, leaving a trail of carnage and havoc behind us will be our destruction - our self-destruction. We, humans, with our wanton greed and lack of any sanctity for life or living things we share this planet with, we humans are the pandemic the rest of the world would be rid of and better off without.
So after all this COVID 19 virus pandemic is over, and I would suggest at least a year down the track from now, so we will have time to reconsider our way of living. We have time to consider how we need to re-engage with life and our world, understand what is real and what is make-believe. What is important and what is trivial. We need to re-learn our respect for all living creatures and organisms and reconnect with life.
This is the way of long term survival. Of course, we could discuss what long term means. Here, probably, fewer human beings on our planet, abolishing waste in all its forms, harnessing the enormous powers of nature and all along, revering and protecting all the organisms that bring life in its vast variety and all its forms to this Earth.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 30th April - 2020