Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

Sheltering in Place: The Natural Order of Things

Sheltering in place is turning out to be too hard for some of us, but it is the way of the world. Nature’s world at least.

The Mother Robin in her nest outside my window reminded me this morning.


While robins from all over the neighborhood were responding to the alarm cries of a few who have been gathering in the fir trees, a sure indication that the great horned owl is out hunting, Mother Robin was on the nest, quietly feeding her hatch-lings, then settling herself down, sheltering her babies from whatever threat might be lurking outside their little world.

This got me thinking about how mothers respond to crisis. In most species, they quickly gather their brood under their wings, or in the center of the herd, or back into the den, and they wait out the threat, choosing fight over flight only when it is absolutely necessary.

I’ve been taken aback by the violence and virulence of some of the anti quarantine protests, and completely appalled by some of the social media posts those who are leaning that way have shared online. It is easy to ignore such things when shared by strangers, but when seemingly reasonable, well intentioned people I know share things that promote harmful, erroneous and inflammatory information, it gets my attention.

Why are these Americans reacting so vehemently? The whole world is dealing with the same crisis, the same threat, the same restrictive attempts to tamp down the spread of the novel corona virus. Yet so many Americans view it as a personal threat to their liberties, rather than the unfortunate reality of life during a pandemic.

And of course, there are plenty of agitators ready to exploit peoples frustration and fear by casting blame and suspicion over people who are trying to help–The people who are actually doing constructive things to try to find the solutions we will need to ever get back to “normal” again.

People like Bill Gates who is spending tons of money through his foundation building labs and sponsoring R&D hoping to find a vaccine that will knock this virus down to manageable levels. People like Anthony Fauci, who has been working 20 hour days for months during the crisis trying to balance the needs of the politicians in Washington with the demands of a health threat like we have not seen in one hundred years. And getting death threats for rolling his eyes during a press conference. Really?

And there are governors who have been working tirelessly trying their best to juggle the responsibilities of literally saving lives while trying to keep their state economies from cratering and causing widespread economic suffering, which requires them to make really difficult decisions.

Yet some purport that they are simply exploiting this virus outbreak in order to “take over”. Take over what? The worst economic slump since the depression? The highest death rate in the developed world? A nation in chaos?

You have got to be kidding me.

That is some crazy reasoning. And it is absolutely hurting and not helping the effort. And every day more people are jumping on the bandwagon, showing up at rallies where they are spreading the virus around, believing in their own immortality, screaming about their rights while ignoring their responsibilities as members of civil society.

Not. Helping. At all.


Photo by Ilona Elliott

Lucky for me, I know far more people who are instinctively going into protective mode, just like Mother Robin. They are staying home. They are taking precautions when in public. They are doing all they can to contribute to the effort. They are making sacrifices. And they aren’t crying about it.

Many of these good folks are mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers. They are learning patience and perseverance and how to make sacrifices for the greater good. They are grateful to the health care workers exhausting themselves on the front lines. They are supportive of the public officials who are making protecting their constituents their number one priority even as it becomes less and less popular.

They are praying for the people in the labs who are working tirelessly to come up with vaccines, treatments and a working understanding of a virus that is not like the flu or a common cold but is dangerous and deadly and appears to have characteristics unlike others we have dealt with.

For now, I  am keeping my eye on Mother Robin, and observing how she so steadfastly applies herself to the health and well being of her brood.

She shelters in place. I hope you will do likewise.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay steadfast.


Do not grow weary in well doing.

Thank you for your efforts. And Happy Mother’s Day.


©2020 by Ilona Elliott

Me and Cosmo

The Author (on the right)


  1. Darts and Letters

    We’re still holding pretty steady. I’ve started worrying more often about my boys’ general state of mind (particularly my teenager) and the job I’m doing with them and if we’re holding the fort down good enough and if I can keep my head screwed on. There’s a long way to go but on the other hand two months is not insignificant. We have to just keep chipping away. We’re really lucky to have a paycheck coming in every week. This is a great essay, Ilona. I understand some of the other side’s anger and frustration about the lockdown because we have no secure social safety net in this country for those living paycheck to paycheck (that’s most of my family and we’re essentially the pension for my parents). But what I don’t brook at all is the Alex Jones-type, exploitative agitprop bullshit. lord you’re right on point about that stuff. And thanks for pointing out the positive things going on, too. I can’t believe the yarns the right wing wackos are spinning about Bill Gates as he’s basically trying to pick up the slack for our government, like restoring money back to WHO. It’s incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know TF. We best focus on the helpers. It would be nice if people could recognize who is helping and who is not, but there are definitely some folks whose whole gig is to be contrary, and they are often the Trumpers and the agitators. And I agree, Americans don’t have the same assurance that we will be taken care of, which is really evident when you compare how places like Denmark and Canada are approaching the financial crisis with so much more support for the workers and a lot less pork barrel for the well connected political allies. YEESH. Be safe friend. xo


  2. Dear Ilona, a former American who lives in Penticton was telling me that it’s difficult to understand (as a Canadian) the American mindset about personal liberties. I know that I don’t like hate politics, where people dislike others simply because they support a party, whether it’s in Canada or the USA. I want people in leadership to lead, to inspire, to work hard for everyone, to serve the country they represent. When I was a camp counselor I said I am here for the campers, they are not here for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t buy into the notion that we have personal liberties but not personal responsibility to the greater good. I saw a post on social media that said in effect demanding your rights while shunning your responsibilities isn’t being an American, it’s being an adolescent. I couldn’t agree more.


  3. I agree with you. I am shocked at people trying to blame anybody on this virus. I see the protests and wonder how folks think like that. I am not going out and am very cautious. Until further notice . . .you will NOT see me ! haha! love <michele

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to share my love of momma Robins. We have a tiny lilac tree in the backyard and it took me quite a while to understand why a bird kept exploding from it in frantic squawking whenever I got anywhere near it–for example trimming a lower branch to keep it tree-shaped and not bush-shaped. Then one day I spotted three little blue eggs tucked in a nest. I moved all the furniture from our backyard to the side that faces a street, just so we wouldn’t give the bird apoplexy every time we walked by. Yesterday, I spotted one little pin-feathered head in the depths. (We had three deaths in our yard, so I’m holding out a hope this one makes it. It’s pretty tragic having to rescue the remains of the ones that don’t.)

    And you are not wrong. The world is going crazier and crazier. Only the sane ones are staying indoors while the madness reigns. (Though, I applaud people who are moved to protest, I am a coward at heart and will cheer from my couch!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kiri I think all our robins made it. I did find a tiny tiny white egg in the grass last week and it held a tiny tiny expired baby. I think it was a humming bird. Damn those blue jays. They are brutal. It’s nice to have our gardens to remind us that while humanity is losing it, Mom Nature is still steady in spite of all we have thrown at her.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: