I’d like to say that when the going gets tough, the tough go fishing, but I wasn’t feeling all that confident of late. With the world changing so rapidly in recent hours, though, I did go fishing. Yes. The sky was blue; the air temp was climbing into the comfort zone. State forest-lands were calling; the society of trees and flowing waters beckoned. But like nearly everyone else, I was feeling vulnerable, seeing the dark side to the social and economic closures that were happening globally and here at home.
Sure, the social distancing strategy being employed to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus comes easily to an old rambler like myself. Although I’ve been a teacher and public servant for ages, the natural world has been my master, and the great society of trees and soil and water has always made it rather easy to obtain that “social distance” everyone is talking about today.
With so many people staying home, traveling less and maybe even consuming less (now that shelves of toiletry, alcohol, meat, and other items are pretty much cleared), the Earth’s environment may be cleaner than it was a week ago. Perhaps the planet is trying to tell us something that we really need to hear. If so, I doubt that many of us are actually paying attention. But I’m heading up the trail with a fly rod in hand, thinking of current events and feeling not so tough.
School is out for a good long while. My wife is working at home; the kids are fine, but I worry about what happens to the marginalized– to the homeless and elderly, to the small business owners and hourly wage-earners, to the care-providers, to mention a few. I want to keep things in perspective and not allow my own concerns to override the dangers of the virus itself.
Two miles from the road, I’m in the thick of it– among the hemlock, maple, cherry, oak, and birch, and the madness is removed for now. Ah, the great society of trees and wild creatures, even if the fish do not cooperate. I’m out there doing my part to hold things down. No social hysteria, no toilet paper jokes, no hand-washing obsession till my knees give out and tell me to return.
Before school was cancelled, I was working to create a short story with one of my little fourth-graders. Old gray Sam the Shamrock was feeling the winter blahs– sick to death of the cold polluted city. Finally, Sam decided he could do something to improve his life. He quit complaining about his boredom and started helping out his brethren in their tiny urban plot. They picked up trash; they partied, and they taught each other how to care… Yep, the sun grew stronger, bit by bit, and old gray Sam began to… green once more.
The sap was flowing skyward through the tree roots, up the trunk and out to each red bud. The green was coming through.
[Speaking of green, if you haven’t yet seen my new one and would like to help out the cause of independent nature writing and small-press publishing, check it out via my “About” page for ordering info. Thank you, folks, and be well.]