VIEW FROM HERE: We Are Not Alone

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By DELPHINE HIRASUNA

Since California ordered everyone to “shelter in place” in late March, my sister and I have been hunkered down at the old family farm in Lodi where we grew up. After our parents passed more than a decade ago, we kept the farm as a weekend retreat and a way to stay close to our extensive family in the area.

At the farm, I have been idly spending the time pulling weeds in the garden. The fact that I don’t have to rush through this chore on quick weekend visits has given me time to notice the many creatures that inhabit the farm. I’ve spotted two coyotes, jack rabbits, and a red fox that strolled across the lawn and stopped to stare at me as if I were trespassing.

The birds have been particularly raucous because it’s spring mating season and no traffic sounds drown out their calls. It’s been interesting to observe the variety of chirping calls each species makes and their different flying styles. Some birds flap their wings frantically to stay aloft, others glide effortlessly, others hop around picking at seeds in the grass.

But what really drew my attention as I sat on the ground yanking out weeds is the plethora of bugs scurrying around. “Busy, busy — no time for human nonsense like coronavirus,” they seemed to be saying. These bugs live in their own world and have duties to perform to support their own kind.

As I studied a cluster of tiny red and black bugs, it dawned on me that we are not alone on our little farm (duh!!). Millions of bugs call it home. They don’t give a damn that a global pandemic is grinding human society to a halt. They probably think humans are arrogant for assuming we are the dominant life form on the planet.

We aren’t. I can introduce you to a few trillion bugs that will tell us otherwise.

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From the late 1970s, Delphine Hirasuna wrote a weekly column for The Rafu Shimpo for more than 25 years. She is the author of several books, including “The Art of Gaman,” featuring objects made from scrap and found materials in the Japanese American camps during World War II. Her book was turned into an exhibition that appeared in 15 museums in the U.S. and Japan. More recently she published a sequel called “All That Remains.” Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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