A Season of Change

A Natural Thanksgiving Message

Posted on: November 19th, 2020

Sheltering-in-Place Blog Entry #32

Approaching Larkey Park and Lindsay on the bike and walking trail. I love the contrast of colors between deciduous and evergreen trees.

On my morning walk to Lindsay, I enjoy seeing the subtle changes brought by the California seasons. The trees pushed their early buds in the spring, followed by the strangest summer in my memory. For many days, sunlight filtered to deep orange through the smoke of dozens of fires across the Bay Area. I had never had to stay indoors because the air was too toxic to breathe. The heatwave that followed in late summer felt like walking into a dry sauna and seeing our garden wither in the heat was heartbreaking. I could only think about people who do not have air conditioning to edge off this debilitating and often life-threatening weather. Then in the last few weeks, a few rays of hope: blue skies, and crisp mornings. Leaves turn to shades of yellow, orange, and red, and there’s crunching underfoot from the massive crop of acorns along the trail. Nature’s rhythms can make us forget, if only for a short time, the perils and stress of the pandemic. The vegetable garden’s last harvests blended with the first cold snap of the season on a cold morning with the grass-covered in white frost.

On the same trail, I was greeted by fields of frosted dry grass under bright blue skies.

Halloween came and went with little fanfare (and a lot of leftover candy) as few families braved the pandemic for the sake of traditions and kid’s sugar-highs. The yellow and red leaves in my yard will remain unraked and stay on the ground to protect seedlings and all the small creatures that overwinter close to the surface under this natural organic blanket. The parched and cracked soil finally drinks the first sparse rains thirstily and is left wanting. More is sure to come soon. Sadly, the specter of another shelter-in-place period and the slide back to tighter restrictions due to the severe increase in COVID-19 infections across the area will put a damper on the upcoming holiday season. This is another reminder that we need to adapt, trust science and its recommendations, and protect ourselves and others from spreading this awful disease.

The beautiful warm colors of leaves and fruits contrast with the crisp morning air and the frost on the grasses.

Thanksgiving is more than a day or a weekend of turkey meals and family gatherings. This year will be different, with smaller assemblies, more phone calls, and Facetime talks, and more nuclear than ever to protect each other from a still rampant virus that we can’t quite figure out as a community how to keep at bay. For me, this has been a year of being thankful. Our commitment to a science-based approach to decision-making has kept our Lindsay families relatively safe from the virus as we have all adopted the safest possible behaviors and kept on working to support our organization and our livelihood.

Megan from the Education Department helping her coworkers at the wildlife hospital during the pandemic.

I am incredibly thankful for my coworkers, a diverse, intelligent, motivated, and talented group of people that have taken on challenge after challenge and kept going. We are an evolving organization, and we strive to continue to be relevant and impactful through our work. Our volunteer corps has also been fantastic in their support and commitment to wildlife in the face of extraordinary circumstances. Many volunteers have made themselves available for long shifts of arduous work, and we genuinely value and appreciate all of you. Those working from home, our homecare volunteers, have gone above and beyond, rehabilitating and caring for patients and animal ambassadors with passion and love. And then, we have many volunteers supporting fundraising efforts, communications, and education programs and their work has not gone unnoticed. Those that have not been able to come back have demonstrated in many other ways their love for Lindsay through their financial support, their letters and messages, and caring for themselves and their families. We love you for that, too.

An ancient oak tree in Mount Diablo serves as an anchor for many lives. Generations of humans have sat under its shade just as generations have learned to love wildlife and nature through their experiences at Lindsay.

Finally, we have a broader community, an enormous group of people that have stretched their resources to support Lindsay through the financial crunch of losing much of our earned income. They continue to believe in us, in our work, our mission, and our commitment. They have made an enormous difference in our ability to stay intact and continue to transform ourselves into a resilient and successful organization.

I have much to give thanks for. The multiple small gestures of appreciation never go unnoticed, from an email comment on a blog, to the scrawled note left on the little whiteboard on my door, to the plate of cookies, the pot of freshly-brewed coffee, and the messages of care and support that have all carried me through the bad days and continue to brighten my good days. Lindsay is a beautiful community, and I’m very fortunate to be part of it.

Stay safe during the upcoming holidays.

Carlos L. de la Rosa
Executive Director

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