Slow and steady
Alec & Ann Peters
I was driving on Warm Springs Road toward Kenwood, coming around a curve, when I saw something small in the other lane, moving ever so slowly. It was a turtle, out for a leisurely stroll, and oblivious to the fact that someone driving in his lane would have no way to stop in time. His demise was imminent since he clearly wasn't nimble enough to avoid anything. It was just a matter of time.
I found a place to turn around, drove back and parked in front of the little guy with my hazards on, hoping no speeders would be tearing around the bend.
“Man injured saving turtle,” could have been the headline in the next Kenwood Press, providing my family with fodder for years to come.
The turtle retreated into his shell as I picked him up and found a safer place where he could continue his solitary journey.
A few days before, there was an enormous gopher snake in our vegetable garden, and the very next day we saw what had to be the same snake out on the road in front of our house, lying in the middle of the byway, basking in the sunshine. Clearly, he felt no urgency, and had no worries about possibly getting run over.
Ann got out of the car and gave the snake a lecture about his reckless behavior, prompting it to make a U-turn back into the brush on the side of the road. She speaks Parseltongue, the language of serpents in Harry Potter.
In the midst all the chaos and concern over COVID-19, nature keeps trucking along this spring. Snakes and turtles are doing their thing, friends have reported bobcat, heron, King snake and skunk sightings in their yards. Tomato plants are coming along fine, wildflowers are particularly beautiful this year, vineyards are looking verdantly healthy - nature is slow, steady, and working at her own pace. Humans aren't really needed. We just seem to get in the way most of the time.
Obviously, many of us need to get back to work, but at this point in time staying safe and avoiding financial ruin are almost diametrically opposed. Just as wild animals know when it's imperative to leave their shelters to go in search of food, each of us need to calculate the amount of risk we're willing to take to provide for ourselves and our families without doing more harm than good to the rest of society. In a perfect world, everyone would wear masks, wash hands, avoid crowds, and stay home if they're feeling sick, and we would starve the coronavirus to death. But this isn't a perfect world, although the fact that so many of us have been doing all the right things and have thus “flattened the curve,” is heartening. Despite what you read in the national news, people have been largely unified, looking out for each other and protecting the vulnerable. Let's keep on going.
We have a magnet on our refrigerator. It's a drawing of a dog with a goofy look on his face, and it says, “The only way out is always through.” I never quite knew how the two things related to one another, but now I do. It's kind of like that old expression, “When you're going through hell, keep going.” Slowly and steadily.