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Slices of Life

Love in the time of COVID

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We are all social distancing. Hugs from a friend have been put on hold. Personal interaction is kept to a minimum. Masks have become fashion statements, gloves a necessity. We go out only when we are out of milk or eggs or toilet paper. We fear the touch of human contact. Well, not really but you get my drift. 

The world around us has changed, perhaps forever. I think most of us will admit we never could have imagined this. We didn’t see it coming. I wouldn’t have wanted to see it coming. 

In some ways everything has changed. In others it is the same. Take birds, for example. The ones in my backyard evidently didn’t get the pandemic memo. They’ve been fluffing and flying just like it’s a normal everyday Wednesday. For them it is. 

This spring, they’ve been as twitterpated as ever. They’ve been flitting and flurrying and doing their mating rituals and dances for all my family to see. The mourning doves offer their rhythmic lamenting coos, while the robins cheep and chirp. I’ve seen them carrying twigs in their beaks, clearly building nests to fill with a new brood this summer. They wake me up early in the morning and I am grateful for their songs – and then I drift back to sleep again, because why not? They sing like winter is over. Spring is here and summer might be a reality.

I think perhaps we could learn something from the birds. Despite the warm outdoor temperatures, it may feel like winter – in our hearts. It may feel like the coldness of the world will never be over. Like the future is uncertain – because it is. Like life has changed – because is has. But then there are the birds. They are building nests and planning for the future. Counting on the future with the confidence that twitterpation tends to bode.

I’ve grown to appreciate birds over the years. I never used to give them much thought – you know, the term “bird brain” and all. I thought of them as insignificant, but they are anything but. They are as interesting and complex as a pandemic. According to the “Bird Watcher’s Digest” about 90 percent of birds are monogamous. I’m not sure humans can claim that same statistic. But for birds, monogamy may last only one season. How convenient. Still some birds are truly monogamous in the human definition of the word. They include eagles, geese, swans, cranes, penguins and often robins.

Male birds of many species take a very active role in proliferation of their offspring. They sit on eggs, feed their incubating mate, feed their nestlings and fledglings and provide overall familial support. Bird brained or not, you have to appreciate that. I think perhaps we could learn something from the birds. 

This “winter” of a pandemic we are stuck in will evolve into spring. It has to. And spring will become summer. I don’t know when or how long until that happens, but I believe in the birds (and the bees). I believe in the future. I believe in us. And I am counting the days until “spring” – although I don’t know how many that will be. 

I look forward to hugging a friend. To a time when the terms like social distancing and stay-at-home directives are a thing of the past. When the only masks we need to wear come out on Halloween. When we have a vaccine for this beast.

And here’s the best news of all. We are more like the birds and the bees than we think. They are busy building nests. We may be doing the same. Despite the whole social distancing thing, I predict a baby boom in about nine months – lots of New Year’s babies to prove there is hope for the future. Stay safe. Here’s to a new 2021.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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