I have moved my home office outside. Yes, now I am doing my Zoom sessions on our porch. Ely has set up the bird feeders and birdbaths so we have many enchanting visitors.
Just yesterday I noticed that there are a few tiny birds building a nest in the dryer vent, directly above where I sit! Sometimes I have to stop during a Zoom meeting to show the people I’m talking with the birds bathing with glee just a few feet away.
The squirrels regularly come to visit (read: harass) our doodle Bo. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you can see the many videos I capture and share of the loud frog in our front, and the packs of coyotes that “serenade” us as we go to sleep.
The baby ducklings at the creek in our neighborhood are simply pure joy. I am told that every year there is a new flock, but this is the first year we have seen them.
Silver lining? We have lived here for more than two years yet this pandemic has created an opening into awe in a new way.
It seems that nature is delighting in the absence of us humans.
Or perhaps I am just noticing more. Yes, it’s spring. But it seems to me that this year the flora and fauna are more colorful, active, and vibrant.
In the midst of all the increasing tragic deaths and isolation from Covid-19, I have found it essential to keep noticing the beauty.
It has become fundamental to welcome the good and nature beckons me to go outside, look around, breathe it in.
We Are But Visitors
My teacher Rabbi Marc Margolius, of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, pointed out the beautiful passage in the Torah for this week. God/The Eternal Mystery says to us:
“…the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me. (Leviticus 25:23)
We are “gerim v’toshavim” – temporary visitors to this earth we inhabit.
It is so easy to forget, isn’t it?
We spend all the time conquering and imposing our will on the planet.
I like to think that in this pandemic, we are giving the earth and all its creatures, a chance to breathe deeply.
We have all stepped back from our cars and trains and planes and perhaps God is smiling in-between the tears of all we have lost in human souls.
The Midrash (legend) adds this to the reminder that we are only visitors here on earth:
Do not make yourselves foremost. (Sifra, Behar, Chapter 4:8)
Has it taken a worldwide pandemic to remind us of this spiritual truth?
We are temporary visitors. The earth must breathe. The creatures need protection from our constant intrusions.
And most of all, we humans are only part of the whole. Things have gotten so out of balance. We continually think that we are “foremost” – first and most important.
What if a lesson of this pandemic is that we have to learn to co-exist with this land that is a GIFT that we ourselves did not create?
I will not soon forget.
Blessings to you. I hope you are healthy and finding ways to see the silver linings in this time.
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Lena Williams says
I think this is the silver lining that I have found in this pandemic and what you are pointing out. The earth is healing and it is good. Nature is shy about us humans, but with most of us staying home, your ducklings are venturing out and enjoying their world. Thank you for the blessing of your inspiring post. – Lena
Carole Ivy says
With such beautiful description and inspiring words Rabbi Jill, I can “feel” your sense of place among the birds, ducklings, frogs and squirrels. Peace in the awareness of that which we share with All creatures nurtured by Mother Earth; simply one among the many. Sometimes it takes a mighty blow called “Pandemic,” to shake this quaking mortal frame from its fragile foundation of illusion, to SEE the ultimateTruth. May each of us take notice while we can, in Gratitude and Awe for this Blessed Opportunity and Sacred Learning.