Last night we watched a Nature special on the wildlife of Cuba. Beautiful, funny, terrifying. (I’d forgotten how these depictions of animal life always include the element of menace: a baby sea turtle, hours old, madly paddling her way across the sand to the ocean, the deep water that is, for her, relative safety; we see the enormous shadow of a hawk sweep silently over her. We see cobras hunt bats in the dark. We see thousands of red crabs scuttling across a road as human vehicles bear down on them.)
The lessons of these programs capture the cycle of life: birth and death; the interdependence of life; and the fragility of ecosystems. Twenty years from now, when that baby turtle returns to lay her eggs on the same sandy beach, what will she find?
In the face of the current pandemic, we are that baby turtle. We head for relative safety, hoping to return to something we recognize when the time is right. We cannot help but keep swimming in the meantime.
Unlike the turtle, we can make decisions now that will have profound impact on the quality of the community we return to. We can focus on the interdependence of life in the human community, and foster greater inclusion, health, and strength.
Let’s do that, while we swim through this menacing time.