VIRUS 2020

15 December VIRUS 2020

15 December VIRUS 2020

15 December, VIRUS 2020

In the past week the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to rise with 70 million cumulative cases and 1.6 million deaths globally since the start of the pandemic. The Regions of the Americas and Europe continue to shoulder the burden of the pandemic, accounting for 85% of new cases and 86% of new deaths globally. WHO, Weekly epidemiological update

Top stories: US and Canada begin inoculations; Netherlands enters lockdown; new restrictions for London. World Economic Forum

Wake to heavy rain. In the darkness the garden is pinned with sparks from the rain and artificial light compensation, as if that is needed for the drowned paths, which will dry. In a brief respite, the cicadas get their chant going, and I think of the one we found yesterday sheltering inside, and how they spent the night wet and cold. As the light peers in a small squad of Kind Parrots fly in with contact calling, colours muted.

‘Dear John,

Bob Brown was arrested this morning for stopping the machinery which is flattening the forest home of the Swift Parrots. The Swift Parrot, the fastest parrot on Earth, is diving headlong into extinction. Yet right now, even as this beautiful little bird clings to existence, its forest habitat is being logged.’

They wanted money, so easy to help, but the payment script on the web site wasn’t working, so I save my money.


In a rain-gap I trawl our beaches, the turmoil, soiled snow covering the grasses, a new waterfall, a fallen Pandanus. How tender life is. The waves are roughly hewn and bearing Atlantic colours not Pacific at all.

Pandanus downed

I get soaked by a wave while looking at the screen, serves me right, I suppose.

A Sea Eagle flies over taking in the new cartography, hassled by a crow, the lagoon is lost.

Rescues are mostly from cars driving through flooded roads. I drain water from the bed beneath the stairs, about to run over and flood the and Wyn’s study. I develop a rhythm, plunge the bucket into the water so it gurgles and gulps, yank it up, take two steps back and, with a generous swing, toss the water over the nearest garden bed, hitting a Frangipani and Baeckeas. Repeated about thirty times, enjoying the rare rhythm of labour, briefly wonder if I will feel it tomorrow, the rare rhythms.


Just hear within minutes of each other that Orion (US environmental magazine) and Coffs for Nature will use my photographs. No money of course, but that’s fine.
I send Alex another photograph of my tree of the week – in an email ‘More Local Flooding but tree still alive! Hi John. Would you still be up for doing tree of the week? We’d love to hear more about your casuarina! Let me know and we can set up a time that suits you. Best, Alex, the Guardian. [It never happened – I don’t know what happened to Alex].


Carl Safina: Well, you said that a lot of my work is predicated on doing away with human uniqueness. I think it’s to tear down some of the mythological stories we’ve told ourselves about human uniqueness—but we are unique. All species have their unique aspects. Being interested in our origins is a unique aspect of the human mind. I don’t think it exists in any other animals. Our kind of language, the extremity of our kind of language—there are a few other animals that have a small vocabulary of nouns and one or two adjectives, and many who communicate very well about a lot of things that are of importance to them, but they don’t have the kind of language we have that lets us discuss things that have happened in the past, to talk about things that may be happening or we may want to plan in the future. So, some of those things are definitely uniquely human.

And we’re interested in trying to understand who we are and where we came from. I’m not sure whether other any other species are interested in who they are. In a way, they are interested in that topic because who they are with defines who they are, in a way that is very familiar to human beings. But origins may be a uniquely human kind of question and a uniquely human kind of curiosity.’ [1]

One minute of sunshine today



[1] ‘Why Humility is Essential in the Face of Nature’, Carl Safina Talks to Andrew Keen on Keen On, Lit Hub Dec 15

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