23rdMay 2021

One of the particularly noticeable effects of the onset of the CORONA virus quarantine was the sudden dramatic drop of traffic upon public highways. As an ardent walker, often utilizing the roadside easements as my pathway, I found this drop in vehicle density an immediate pleasant joy. Not only was my daily wanderings far less threatened by undisciplined and unobservant motorists, but more importantly by not having to breath the noxious fumes constantly belched forth from all petroleum fired monsters.

A less obvious benefit this decline in traffic produced, equally tied to the reduction in pollution, was a surprising change in the roadside vegetation, both in variety and in voracity of growth. Both nettles and broom whom tend to spring up in any available verge space by mid springtime, suddenly found themselves fighting for their desirous growing area with other less fume resistant but more resilient vegetation and were quite successfully elbowed away from their predomination.  Problematically nettles are the choice of our usually prestigiously plentiful large North Western butterflies for both initial egg laying and caterpillar food. How ironic that a lack of motor vehicles and their accompanying pollution in the early portion of twenty-twenty so changed the regular swallowtail lifecycle, that we suffered an almost total lack of butterfly days, those magical occasions when the length of Waggoners hill is awash with the fluttering of a multitude of lepidoptera.

Last year, by mid-May, the foxgloves were showing bloom, in all their many colorings, the better-known deep purple, through variances of violet and paler and paler pink, even the occasional pristine white, plus the many cross pollinations that display variable shades through the petals, with even some that just for extra adornment fabricate spotted sections of counter coloring within their tubulars. This year, with the nettles and broom having reclaimed the broken soil, the digitalis are sparse and later to flower, just now manifesting their vert spikes.

That nature appears to have recovered from quarantine seems most providential. Let us hope humanity manages quite as readily.

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