Light and Dark

Ray of hope

The world is changing. Flowers are opening and birds are singing.

But no, the world is changing. Daily. The relative normality of my last post feels far away. I am certain that no one wants to hear more about coronavirus but I do have a thought and a challenge – then back to wildlife, I promise.

The thought: viruses spread fast, but information and disinformation have never spread faster. Science travels cautiously, but for certain sure, it tells us that this virus is not a laboratory product. Coronaviruses are typically hosted by bats, and SARS showed that they can jump into people via trade in wildlife; palm civets in that case, but there is some evidence that the critically endangered Malayan pangolin was the unwilling bridge for Covid-19. Or maybe it was turtles.

Truth matters. Whatever the origin of this particular virus – from the wildlife trade or not – there can be no more tolerance for criminals exploiting wildlife, anywhere in the world, for whatever motive. As this Chinese conservation group explains, ‘traditional medicine’ sometimes isn’t even traditional, not that market demand for pangolin scales and tiger bones is the only problem; the UK recently convicted an individual who illegally smuggled eels worth £53 million, and incredulously he didn’t even get a jail sentence.

Enough is enough. If novel diseases and a global extinction crisis aren’t sufficient for the entire planet to take wildlife trafficking seriously, perhaps we should at least remember the hundreds of brave rangers who have been murdered by the poachers who supply these criminal syndicates.

Let’s keep an eye on the science and keep informed.

The challenge: last week I was travelling in northern England, as I often do, or did before non-essential travel was stopped, when I woke up one morning to a window overlooking the Royal Border Bridge. It is hard enough to believe that the Victorians built this giddying viaduct with the technology available in the 1840s. But we have forgotten, perhaps, that the workers’ thoughts must have sometimes drifted to the global cholera pandemic then raging, not to mention smallpox, typhoid and tuberculosis. Some may even have known that southern Europe had recently experienced several waves of plague.


I’m not, of course, suggesting that we fight coronavirus with viaducts. For almost all of us, the heroic thing in this war is staying home, as I now am like millions of others. But I do like the idea that a pandemic cannot stop us doing amazing things.

This is the only version of 2020 that we’re getting, so let’s make the most of it even while we stay in our houses. Read books, write books, play music, learn a language, study history, look out the window and watch some birds. Learn the stars, listen to foxes and owls, watch butterflies visit a flower-filled windowbox. Find creative ways to protect and help the most vulnerable. Build links and friendships. Remember to pray and breathe.

The world is still there. Let’s use this time to learn how to appreciate it – and each other – more wisely.

And keep faith that the light will be given back to us.

Luna 29 Feb 20

17 thoughts on “Light and Dark

    1. It will pass, but the world will be rocky for a while. As always in difficult times, we’ve already learned that some people will respond with self-restraint and kindness, and others are being extraordinarily selfish. But, that’s humanity.

      Keep well and keep safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is truly one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read and the photography takes your breath away. Please share so widely.Angela X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Excellent post. I will put a link on my blog, if you don’t mind. If Vancouver decides to impose lock down, maybe it will be a good moment to start blogging again… or maybe I should start blogging again anyway 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adele, thank you for you calm and explaining words! We are currently on information overload around here! There is no other news, only Covid19. I find myself quite scared about the whole thing, but we are in isolation and I hope we are safe. I think in a lot of cases, the people who are reading or listening to the news are not capable of understanding what they are reading. As a result we are faced with panic and all it’s offshoots.
    Keep well, I’ll be thinking about you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robin, I was wondering how you were getting on. Isolation is certainly the best strategy at the moment. I agree that people are not understanding what they are being told – it seems that they either go crazy and panic buy things that are not in short supply, or take unnecessary risks by going to parties! We have reached a point in the UK where the government has had to force people to be sensible by shutting down nearly everything, and supermarkets are setting new rules to make sure food is distributed fairly. It all seems a little surreal. But it will pass.

      Keep well and please keep in touch!


  4. A beautifully written post Adele, and you make so many important points and connections. It is important to keep grounded even though not always easy, and the pointers and reminders you provide are great encouragements when it is so easy to be consumed by anxieties. Thank you. Stay safe and keep on writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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