April 2020 (Autumn in Australia) — Canberra Walks Off The Covid-19 Crisis.

Never have so many Canberrans taken to the streets.  Not to protest, but to walk.

It rained.  The sun shone.  An urban forest revived after drought; too late for some trees.  Spring migrants like the Caper White butterfly feasted on autumn weeds.  Little dumpies (Diplodium truncatum) emerged from leaf litter to greet the day and would-be pollinators.  And the people came in their hundreds to traipse over woodland and reserve, grateful for the reprieve from summer’s hell, as they waited for the virus nightmare to end.

new growthcold daycold day2male caper whitedumpies

An abundance of caution was met with an abundance of energy.  Spring-like, flowers bloomed in maximum profusion.  There was a stand-off at the bird bath between unlikely combatants.  Feral goldfinches, seen in ever diminishing numbers as the city expands, congregated on feral hawthorn, the latter strangely stricken and unadorned.  Overhead, cockatoos wheeled and screeched in peach fuzz sky, flying home for the evening.

runner

birdbathgold finchpink sky

I walked my suburb in the luminous sun, all the while feeling strangely detached.  Autumn glow nestled around me.  I tried to shrug it off but it persisted.  I stopped to talk to people about photography.  They postulated that it was a fine time for landscape photography.  I didn’t have the courage to tell them that I was hunting ravens.  Still, I managed to take a lot of photos through the shadows.

walk2walkashred-rumped grass parrotcockatoo

My favourite annual outing, the National Folk Festival, that is normally held over Easter each year at National Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), was cancelled.  A drive-in Covid-19 testing centre was set up there in its stead.  By the end of April, 93 people had died of Covid-19 in Australia, including three in the Australian Capital Territory.  This compares to the more than 200,000 people that have died across the globe.  Canberra is now officially Covid-19 free with no active cases.  I can now cross the state border to visit friends and family.  We will visit Yass Cemetery.  Did our friends, the resident magpie population, miss us?  I’ve missed them.  It is something to look forward to.

I’m over “living in the moment”, ladies and gentlemen.  It is a temporary survival strategy at best, but it is not sustainable.  We have an obligation to plan for a sustainable future, for a healthy world.  Like planning for a pandemic and a competent response to the Covid-19 crisis, a sustainable future requires a focus on collective well-being at the expense of individualism.  Those with no capacity beyond just surviving — our vulnerable people, species and ecosystems — require our blame-free, disdain-free help (not charity).  A sustainable, compassionate future takes investment.  It takes empathy.  It takes leadership.  It takes our cooperation.  Responding to the threats to our health and livelihood posed by human-induced climate change requires the best planning and execution of those plans that mankind can muster.  We should expect no less.

Here’s a song I heard at the National Folk Festival a few years ago.  I hope the festival survives.  The event organisers lost everything.   You can’t insure against a pandemic.  Events might not always go to plan, but it is still a good idea to have one — a plan for the future and something to look forward to.

This is my response to The Changing Seasons — April 2020 photo challenge, hosted by the lovely Su at Zimmerbitch.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

65 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons – April 2020

  1. Yes it has been a difficult time and has brought our dependence of overseas supplies into sharp focus. It will need strong leadership to get us back up and independent again. I hope our leaders have a good plan. You have captured some beautiful light in these shots. I loved the clear, crisp air at this time of the year when we were in Canberra

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    1. We definitely need a bigger buffer of supplies. Globalisation has its benefits, but, you know, the eggs in one basket, is maybe not such a good thing. I have been incredibly heartened by the reassurances of my international medical suppliers about the systems they have in place to ensure continuity of supply, but again, we need to convince the worst case scenario.
      The light is enchanting at the moment, Pauline. We have had a beautiful run of warm April weather. 5th warmest on record …
      I will come back to your Changing Seasons post over the weekend. I’m still catching up.

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      1. Recently read an article about a group of experts that formed a year ago to look into our survival in the case of a world crisis. Now their scary predictions are coming true and the main point they made was our dependence on other countries, lack of storage for fuel being a main problem, because if that stopped our whole culture would collapse

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      2. I read that too, Pauline. (ABC?)
        There is a big article in The Saturday Paper today, Pauline. See “Food For Thought”. You might be horrified. These issues have been known for quite some time. It’s what you get when you are wedded to unfettered, unregulated markets and short-termism. Globalisation is great when everything is going fine, but when it is not…

        Do you subscribe to The Saturday Paper? You can subscribe online. Like all newspapers, their survival is in jeopardy due to advertising losses due to this crisis. If you can find The Saturday Paper at a newsagent in Qld, I would be very surprised. I created a bit of ire asking for it in Goondiwindi one day. I probably wrote about it, and then deleted it for fear of sounding embittered.

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      3. Yes it was on the ABC internet site. That’s were I get most of my news updates and articles from. I look on them as, hopefully, being factual and not too sensational with their reporting. I must admit I don’t read newspapers any more. Lots of scary scenarios being exposed. Did you read about “the just-in-time” economy? Everything really needs changing if we are to maintain our culture and standard of living.

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  2. Tracy, this is one of the most outstanding posts I’ve read in a long time, accompanied by your usual gorgeous photos. The birds of Australia are so extraordinary. I used to see lovely birds when I was a kid, but I lived on the East Coast then, and now live on the West Coast of the US. We hardly even see pigeons any more.

    You’re totally right about the only way that this planet can – MUST – move forward: by becoming a universal community with a goal of sustainable resources management on behalf of the entire world.

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. I’m honoured by your compliment. I wish you had beautiful birds to keep you company. If only you could have some Aussie ones. They would like your eucalypts.
      As for the planet … The question is how can we reduce consumption without harming those people who work very hard and for very little to provide a great many middle class people with more than they need?

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      1. The strength of any community is in the strength of its middle class and building opportunities for more people to reach or maintain status in the middle class benefits everyone. Except the despots.

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    1. I’ve no grandchildren, Liz. Maybe one day in the future, although my children have expressed no inclination that way. They have expressed a view that it is not such a great time to be bringing children into this world. I felt the same at their age, but I was kind of hopeful that we might have made a better fist of our environmental stewardship by now.

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      1. I don’t have any grandchildren either. The stars just didn’t align for my daughter. I think the not a good time to be bringing children into the world conversation has been going on for quite some time.

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  3. Finest images and words, Tracy. I fully support your future planning approach tho am not hopeful of any compassionate or empathetic strategies arising from our goverment. I doubt they will ever take responsibility for the state of things in the UK.

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      1. We are coping ok, thank you for asking, Tracy; my husband working from home, my younger daughter just finished final exams online and will stay here for the summer, and my older one in Japan, teaching English (online for now), and as you know, I keep busy in the kitchen and garden. We seem to have just reached the peak in Canada, but the curve was flattened, so the health system hasn’t been overwhelmed. Ontario will continue the state of emergency until May 29 at least, but other provinces are starting a gradual opening of operations. Stay safe, hugs!

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      2. I’m glad you are okay, Irene. I didn’t realise you were in Ontario. I think it is wise to defer opening up as long as possible. Your younger daughter must feel quite relieved that her exams are all over. She didn’t do chemistry, did she? My son is struggling with his one and only chemistry subject. He has only two subjects to go and should finish in a couple of weeks. This is his second go at chemistry. Agghh.
        Hope your daughter stays safe in Japan, Irene. It seems to be rather fluid there at the moment. Thankfully her teaching is not face-to-face.

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  4. Australia has done so well. I haven’t had the heart to tell Bear that winter is coming to Australia while it’s an effing roasting oven outside here (we don’t do well in the heat, Bear and I). Beautiful birds. ❤

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      1. “No, Bear. I can’t get you an airplane ticket. You’re a dog. You’d have to be in a crate in the luggage part of the plane for HOURS and whole DAY.”

        “What are hours?”

        “Never mind…”

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    1. Thanks, Darren. The problem of course is bigger where you are, so I guess a more restrictive policy is necessary. Hope you are holding up okay? How was your week break?
      The couple of times that my family members have done a quick food run, it seems that a lot of complacency has crept in. I suppose that is understandable given how tired everyone is.

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  5. I couldn’t agree more Tracy; “A sustainable, compassionate future takes investment. It takes empathy. It takes leadership. It takes our cooperation” — that sums it up for me.
    Thanks for the walk and the chance to talk about these things that matter so much to us (without the accusations of hysteria so often levelled at me these days).

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      1. Thanks Tracy. The further we move from lock-down, and the lower our case numbers, the more people seem to forget the very real threat and start talking about “over-reacting.” Grrr.

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  6. Such a breath of fresh air to see all those lovely nature photos, folks walking, animals and insects doing their thing, and the gorgeous sky above.

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      1. I feel like such a broken record these days, always envious of other people’s walks, but at least I can go outside even if it’s a concrete jungle. I was talking with a friend in the Netherlands and she can’t even leave her apt!

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      2. We are rather spoiled in Canberra, Lani. I have a great deal of sympathy for those who don’t have the same access to the outdoors. Everywhere was within 10k of where I live, and mostly within 5km.
        I hope Thailand’s numbers continue to decline, and that there will be the opportunity for you to take a holiday within Thailand soon. I imagine that Australians will be encouraged to take their holidays domestically this year once restrictions ease.

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  7. Thank you Tracy. The week break helped. Yesterday I was writing risk assessments for planning a return to the labs, and I expect this to happen before the end of May.
    I have been struggling badly since my break if I am honest. Working from home means that my studio space (where the computer is) has been invaded and I feel reluctant to go in there now even on non-work days. If this continues I might move the computer to give some separation.
    It is bigger than that though. If travel restrictions etc are the new normal for the uk then I see little point in working any more – we can afford the basics without my salary. So I feel unmotivated to put it mildly.

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    1. I can understand that. You need to do what is best for you, Darren. It’s a big decision that you’ve obviously been thinking about for a while. Just think of how brave those frontline workers are. Be like them. (PS. This is also a note to myself). 🙂

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  8. I’m not sure how you found my blog, but I’m glad you did. If your words are the product of an untidy mind, I think tidiness is overrated. Your next-to-last paragraph is — I contradict myself — very tidy: it makes all the most important points with a clean economy of words. I shall be following you.

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  9. A beautiful and thoughtful post, Tracy! I’m in love with your photos! Especially the one with the little girl, the golden tree and that beautiful green-turquoise-yellow bird at the end. The music is so precious, I love her clear voice – very beautiful. I really hope the festival will come back again – I loved all your posts about it and the others and know how important it is for all of you, for all of us actually.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. The galahs had no chance with the little girl chancing them. As soon as they would settle, she would be off after them again creating a flying cloud of pink. Gorgeous.
      Hopefully there will be a festival of some sort, but I think it will be some time before it is back to what it was. The risk of another cancellation is just too great. That’s my opinion. It is so important for us all.
      The song is wonderful. I have a number of Kate and Ruth’s CDs; a festival purchase.

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  10. “Living in the moment” is getting a bit tiring, Tracy. We certainly need a sustainable plan. Wonderful post…agree with everything. Lovely photos but most of all I love the song. I think I am going to listen to it a number of times. ❤️

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  11. So where was the viper’s bugloss that the butterfly was feeding on? You should see the piles of the pest that we’ve created in our local patch of bush. People who have never walked in the reserve before are quite taken aback to see us weeding. What, people labour for nothing for the greater good?

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