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Point of View: Early-Rise Latecomer

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 18:39

Usually I can sleep forever, but not lately. There’s an ache in there, around the gluteus medius, that builds until there’s nothing to be done but get up. No matter that it’s 5 a.m.

A periodic insomniac, Mary has told me she’s never been able to beat The Times’s deliverers — the paper’s in our driveway whether it be 5, or 4. . . . And the other day was no different, presenting me, as the sun began rising and the birds began chatting it up, with a rare opportunity to thoroughly absorb and bemoan the latest outrages before Mary could.

“I’ve read The Times and Newsday, the crossword’s done, and I’ve read about the theory of general relativity, and I haven’t even had my coffee yet!” I said when she greeted me at around 6:30. 

It’s true: I probably have, as Scott Rubenstein once said, concerning my reluctance to play tennis at 7:30, been wasting my life away. There are, for instance, so many more books I don’t understand — about science, of poetry — that I could be reading.

But why worry about what’s it all about when it’s all about you — Nature, I mean, resplendent Nature, which, with humankind forced by a virus to hunker down in the past year, was granted a reprieve, as Sir David Attenborough demonstrates in “The Year Earth Changed.” We watched it last night; it was well worth staying up for.

To see animals thriving in places once trampled by tourists was animating, and to think that Earth may continue to breathe, if we’re heedful, gives you hope that all will be well — however early the hour.

In the absence of tourist boats, humpback whales in Alaska could communicate better, could feed in peace, and the calves’ survival rate improved, in the absence of beach crowds, loggerhead turtles in Florida could lay more eggs, and jackass penguins in Cape Town could produce more chicks. . . . Water quality improved greatly in Morocco, the air was cleaner in Jalandhar — you could see the Himalayas for the first time in 30 years. . . .

How wonderful.


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