A Plea for a Respectful Return

While many of us are sheltering in place, we have been giving a much needed break to wildlife in the Greenway.  Although we all miss and need nature in our life, nature probably hasn’t missed us  — our noise, our carbon emissions, our trash, our too many footprints penetrating deeper into the forests and mountains, causing some wildlife to flee to less disturbed areas, and often into less favorable habitats.  As restrictions ease, and people once again return to their favorite picnic areas and trailheads, or strike out farther to find a trail less traveled, rather than a  “Ready, Set, Go! Back to the mountains!” mentality, I hope we will be mindful of ‘others’ in the nature we love — the birds, the elk, the deer, the bears, the cougars, the eagles, the native plants, and the balance we, as outdoors lovers, need to strike with them so as not to keep taking more than our share.

Photo Credit: USFS

These last weeks, as things changed so quickly and tragically for us here and for people all across the world, I couldn’t help but notice how the rest of the natural world went about their business, seemingly unfazed.  Spring peepers began singing, right on time; songbirds courted and built nests; plants sprouted and flowers bloomed, and bees buzzed around them. Coronavirus is a human problem, and this time, we were the vulnerable ones.

Having been humbled by nature, perhaps we are better able to see nature’s vulnerability to us, and tread more lightly and with awareness of the impact of our footprint here in the forests and mountains next to Seattle. The Greenway is not a playground for the human species. The Greenway is home to a great diversity of species, and we are but one.