Among the most widely shared memes of the past few weeks have been the ones that celebrate the return of nature during the assault of the corona virus.
Many of these stories are true, and they are uplifting. You may have heard about fish returning to the canals of Venice (it’s not true that dolphins are also gamboling there) and coyotes strutting across the Golden Gate Bridge. But consider also the frog. In the springtime frogs make their way from the underground forest hideouts, where they spend the winter, to ponds and wetlands where they breed. With so much less traffic on the roads, many more of them are able to make the journey safely.
A pod of orcas cruised farther up an inlet in Vancouver, BC than they usually do, and because people are “sheltering at home,” wild orchids are blooming without being disturbed by gardeners who dig them up and try (almost always unsuccessfully) to replant them at home. A herd of wild goats scampered through Llandudno, a town in northern Wales, snacking on shrubbery along the way.
It is important to mention that not all animals are able to take advantage of the lack of human and vehicular traffic. In Africa, cutbacks in staff and funding for conservation organizations, as well as job layoffs among the general population, may encourage a resurgence of poaching.
Whereas some of the stories about nature’s return to our currently minimally populated cities and parks are simply not true, it is heartening to note that the posts about them have been widely and joyously circulated. It is a reminder of how many of us humans have a deep love of the natural world and recognize that it is part of our psychological makeup, our understanding of how the world works, our sense of play and survival, and our spirituality.
Needless to say, when those first enthusiastic posts about dolphins reclaiming the canals of Venice turned out not to be true, the humorists among us couldn’t help weighing in. They spread and torqued the phrase, “Nature is healing, humans are the virus” in all kinds of ways.
Here are two websites, from Buzzfeed News and Mashable that feature the best examples of these posts. The offerings are wildly creative and laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Enjoy them. We all need a very good laugh to help us get through these hard times.