Thank you so much for all your good wishes for Mum on her birthday! She was very pleased to hear them on our family Facetime call yesterday afternoon. We shared virtual champagne and sang a dispersed Happy Birthday. We made it as good as we could.
There is a shared delight in the wonderfully clear air and the incursion of the wild into our normally human-dominated spaces (peregrine falcons, foxes, goats being unusually bold) - and real hope that this might lead to a lasting change in how we run our economies. I share that hope, although the signs coming out of various global governments aren't yet good.
But the news isn't all so positive. A depressing article in the Guardianyesterday speaks of the consequences of reduced surveillance in wildlife reserves. 'In Cambodia, three critically endangered giant ibis were killed for meat in early April following the collapse of the local tourism industry, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. In central Africa, measures to shield mountain gorillas from the virus have resulted in a slump in vital visitor revenue. Twelve rangers who guarded Virunga national park, where the gorillas live, were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo last month.' There is real fear about landgrabs in the Amazon, people taking advantage of the crisis to clear-cut and burn forest.
What to do? It's hard to say. Support wildlife charities, here and abroad. Do what we can, locally, to encourage biodiversity. Pray, and raise awareness. And prepare for the time after lockdown when policy decisions will be being made so that we can lobby our MP's and encourage crucial steps towards a greener, more generous, more biodiverse world.
If you want something to hope for, have a look at the website for the rewilded Knepp Estate in Sussex - that remarkable story of how nature comes bouncing back, given half a chance!
Here is a poem by R.S.Thomas, related to the beauties and wonder of creation
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had treasure in it.
I realise now
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
With my love, as ever,