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March 30, 2020

Our desert tortoise, Lawrence of Arabia, is out and about after almost six months in hibernation. She emerged from the closet at the same time the pandemic broke out. She usually starts off slowly: Comes out of the closet, goes back in, comes out for longer stretches, then she’s good to go. This time, though, she came out once and returned to her quiet nook for longer than usual. She must have sensed the pandemonium.

But she’s out “frolicking” now in the natural habitat we created for her in the back yard. She munches to her heart’s content on weeds and flowers. We also add salads of home-grown cactus, dandelion and other dark greens until she retreats back to hibernation in October – like clockwork. She’s a sociable creature and seems to enjoy napping within hearing of family activities.

I’m encouraged as I learn that more businesses are stepping up to manufacture much-needed sanitizers and masks. People are helping people. I remember Governor Cuomo’s words: “When the pressure is on, you see what people are really made of.” Even in my community, volunteers are making masks for local hospitals.

Speaking of hospitals, U.S. Navy hospital ships – USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort – have been deployed to Los Angeles and New York, respectively, to serve as “Covid-19-free bubbles” to help non-coronavirus patients as land-based hospitals cope with pandemic patients.

It’s a whole new landscape out there.

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