By Trudy Wischemann

Maybe I’m weird, but I feel so much more grateful these days. In the beginning of the Stay Home orders, my gratitude was for the cessation of so many activities that keep me distracted. Now the fruit of the cessation is beginning to appear: a recognition of the natural part of the world we inhabit.

It hit me Saturday as I drove out to my friends’ place to walk the dogs. The petal fall this year is really quite dramatic. In some groves (perhaps the older Washington navels?), it’s as if each tree has a Christmas tree skirt of white encircling its trunk. The circle of petals highlights each tree as distinct from its neighbors, an unusual appearance in our homogeneous block-after-block of dark evergreen citrus.

“And of all years,” I thought to myself, “this year when there’s no Orange Blossom Festival.” And then I realized that maybe it’s just that I have the presence of mind to notice the petals, not distracted by the hectic social affairs of each April.

Others are remarking on how it seems like Mother Nature is awakening under the influence of the lack of our social activity. I think it might be that now we just have time to notice what’s going on in our own backyards. 

But it isn’t just the natural world outside that’s becoming more apparent. It’s also our own human natures we have a chance to see better with social activity put on hold.

It ain’t all good. There was the disappearing toilet paper, after all. Hoarding, protecting our own first and foremost – a laudable instinct in self-preservation up to a point. Then there are the wolves at the doors: those people who will not use this emergency to practice what David Brooks calls “eulogy values,” but who are there to scrape up the pickings of disaster – our turkey vulture relations. For those of us who are even semi-religious, we can believe God will take care of those folks when the time comes. But I’d rather He took care of the victims of their activities instead.

The natural part of myself is something I’m getting to know better, too. At first I thought this was the opportunity of a lifetime to accelerate my writing work, to catch up on things I’ve not finished thanks to all the social distractions. But I’m finding it’s my maternal instincts that are coming to the fore: the nurturing of my pets and plants, my house and yard, some of my friends and family, even myself. I spent the weekend baking, quite contentedly, and making long phone calls. It’s like, with nobody watching, I’m free to practice and experience my “mama” nature.

My friend Walt Shubin just called to say “I love you” and hang up, which he never can do. For a rollicking 10 minutes we shared our true connection and links to other people, past and present, pure joy, before he went on to his next customer. Despite his reputation as a radical farmer environmentalist, Walt has been practicing his mama nature for almost 90 years, I think, but never better than he does now. It’s what makes him so good at what he does.

Spending more time with mama nature is one of the silver linings of this hard time.

Trudy Wischemann is a reluctant writer who bakes cookies in Lindsay. You can send her your maternal instinct experiences c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit and leave a comment there.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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