Just wait and see

This morning, in a neighbour’s garden, there was a flurry of Monarch butterflies. I tried to count them, was it four, or five? Hard to tell, they were having so much fun flitting among the flowers – roses, zinnias, coneflower, snapdragons and a tall purple item I couldn’t identify. Not so long ago, Monarchs had all but vanished. If there are this many nearby, they must be making a comeback.

So, too, with birds. Earlier in this decade, West Nile virus meant there were neither crows nor blue jays in Toronto. Robins, chickadees and others songsters were also reduced in number. For the last couple of years, the crow’s “caw” and the jay making the sound of its own name “jaaay” are abounding again.

The right whale is still endangered, but this summer there are enough swimming in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that they are regularly colliding with ships. No one laboured mightily to save the Monarch, the jays or the whales; things have just improved.

Some people follow similar patterns of benign neglect. I once worked with a man who would let things that people sent him – urgent and otherwise – just pile up on his desk. He’d keep documents for six months, then throw them away. Whatever the problem, it had passed. He’s in his 90s now. It could be good genes or his zen attitude that caused such longevity.

Of course, all this is biblical. Lamented Job: “How long, oh Lord, how long?” Sometimes, patience can be a plan, too.

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