Reasons to Smile
With all the stressors we are dealing with right now- illness, isolation, job insecurity, fear for loved ones- it’s hard to see a silver lining around the COVID-19 cloud. That’s why I’m going to take the time to point it out. I’m not writing this because I think being stressed or anxious is invalid – in fact, it’s the opposite. We have every reason to worry, every reason to feel anxious. But that doesn’t mean we have to let the stress dictate our lives. We can enjoy life and we can be grateful while still appreciating the severity and seriousness of what’s going on in the world. This is unprecedented, and it’s more important than ever for us to look to reasons for living – look to reasons for staying strong – because we still have a lot to look forward to. Life continues to move forward and we should too.
People have been around for about 200,000 years. We have survived epidemics before and we will survive this one, too. In the 6,000 some-odd years we’ve lived together in civilizations, we have wreaked havoc on the planet we call home.[i]Now that we aren’t going out and about, rolling through the daily grind, the Earth is showing us that She is surviving – dare I say thriving – in light of all this. People aren’t flocking to beaches, parks, zoos, and other public attractions, allowing the land and animals a much-needed break from us. Here are some of the ways in which the Earth is reviving herself:
An article in the NYTimes, two pandas in a Hong Kong zoo have finally mated! Panda’s are notorious for their low libido – whether they don’t really know how to mate, or don’t want to mate, experts aren’t sure. What they do know is that the lack of love-making is contributing to the low numbers of pandas in the world. This applies to pandas in captivity as well as in the wild, so zookeepers are reassured that their walls aren’t the reason for the lack of mating amongst pandas. Ying Ying and Le Le have lived together for 13 years at the Ocean Park Zoo, and Monday, April 6th they finally did the deed. They started showing signs that mating season was coming close, and so zoo workers gathered around the enclosure with phones on the ready. Below is a twitter post containing a video of the momentous mating. Michael Boos, the executive director in zoological operations and conservation at Ocean Park, said “The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination.” Let’s hope that this momentous occasion leads to a baby panda!
Giant pandas Ying Ying and Le Le succeeded in a natural mating, @Ocean_Park has announced. “We hope to bear wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year and make further contributions to the conservation of this vulnerable species,” the park’s Michael Boos said. pic.twitter.com/yJCpCdVHeK— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) April 6, 2020
Over in Spain, on March 3rd, a 100-year-old South American river turtle laid eggs at the Emperor Valley Zoo. The turtles normally don’t lay eggs, as they are constantly bombarded with people sticking their faces in on them. Since the zoo closed, however, the turtles felt comfortable enough to lay eggs and bury them in the sand.[ii]
On April 1st, Brazil had some turtle action as well. Rather than laying, they got to experience hatching. Thousands of turtles on the beach hatched and made their way to the ocean. A phenomenon like this would normally draw crowds, leading to litter on the beach, attempted theft of baby turtles, and cause a distraction for the little critters making their way to the ocean.
Pollution Solution, possibly?
It’s no surprise that the pollution levels in the air and on land has declined since people have been quarantined to their homes. They aren’t out and about, driving their cars, leaving their trash lying about, and factories that usually pump pollution into the air have shut down. It’s most noticeable in major cities around the world:
- The famous canals in Venice, Italy are clear for once, thanks to the lack of boat traffic.[iii] Without boats zooming up and down the canals all day, the sediment has been able to settle giving Italians a clear view to the bottom.
- The air pollution has dropped markedly, thanks to the reduction of motor vehicle traffic. The other day I participated in a Zoom session with my fellow Witch Way Magazine writers, and Michael Herkes, author of The GLAM Witch, told us that the few times he’s ventured into the city, Chicago, IL, the air is noticeably cleaner. NASA reported that the air in the Northeast has much less nitrogen dioxide (aka NO2), a toxic pollutant emitted from motor vehicles.[iv]
- The NO2 levels over Asia and Europe have dropped 40% since last year
With many reports surfacing about a possible link between high air pollution and Coronavirus deaths, we can only hope that NO2 continues to drop.
I’m far from the only person to be pointing out the reasons to smile despite the pandemic. If you take a look at my Source list, you’ll find other articles outlining how the world is benefiting from social distancing orders.
Facebook is abuzz with ways to ease your anxieties, as well. As I mentioned earlier, I participated in a chat with my fellow Witch Way Magazine writers. We discussed ways in which we are taking care of ourselves, ways we are taking advantage of our time at home, and more. You can hop on over to Facebook, if you’re interested in watching.
Not a Typical Post
I know this is far from usual for me. I usually post about magick, goddess/god work, spirituality, and enlightenment. So, why am I talking about pollution and the corona virus? For a few reasons.
- Witches are intimately connected to nature, and the state of the world is important to us.
- Witches are HUMAN. That means we are just as susceptible to anxiety, fear, depression, and sadness as any other person. Witches need cheering up sometimes too, I know I do, and it has cheered me up a little putting this post together for you.
- I care about you and your well-being. It matters to me how you are feeling. I can only imagine how you are all coping with the chaos and so I wanted to remind you that it’s not all horrible. I want to remind you that with destruction comes creation, and vice versa. We can’t even begin to guess why this is all happening, and we can’t predict when it will end or how. So in the meantime, we can try to stay focused on the positive. As witches we know that thoughts have weight, and that having positive thoughts are more likely to render a change.
Further In Summer than the Birds by Emily Dickinson Further in Summer than the Birds – Pathetic from the Grass – A minor Nation celebrates It’s unobtrusive Mass. No Ordinance be seen – So gradual the Grace A gentle Custom it becomes – Enlarging Loneliness – Antiquest felt at Noon – When August burning low Arise this spectral Canticle Repose to typify – Remit as yet no Grace – No furrow on the Glow, But a Druidic Difference Enhances Nature now – [Posted in Poems by Emily Dickinson.]