He stuck his head up from the grass and smelt the air. His ears cocked for the all-familiar sound of guns and his nose twitched, searching for that smell of carnage and smoke.
But try as he would, all he could smell was the fresh grass that shone from the morning dewdrops that gently bobbed on the stalks. The sky was blue and bright from a sun that had not had such a clean and direct connection with the atmosphere in a very long time.
He began to furtively hop, still wondering if this was a mirage or a trick. He wasn’t the only one either. Around him, his brothers and sisters wore the same incredulous look on their faces. Their eyes shone and brightened when it finally hit them.
There were no humans hunting rabbits today.
In the sky, a pigeon flew with her friends, enjoying the morning winds tickling her wings and the sun warming her up, like a blanket over her flying space. She saw eagles in the distance, owning the high skies and flying with a confidence and passion that came to them naturally.
It was then that she realised, she could not see a single big bird. The birds that made them feel like a dot flying in the sky, the huge birds with the big wings that filled the skies at all times of the day.
Her little heart filled with joy as she heard other birds closer to her size, birds of all kinds chirping loudly and enjoying full and free access to the skies and the clean air in their lungs.
There were no planes today.
A pair of gazelles here, a reindeer there. A leopard here, a lion there. They all reclaimed the land and roamed freely. The trees stood a little taller, the flowers bloomed a little more. The rivers flowed clean and free of picnic garbage. The forests thrived free of hunters and trekkers who disrespected the natural beauty and marred the landscape with leftover food, discarded bottles and wrappers and arrogance.
The world belonged to the birds, animals, trees and plants today.
As one, wherever they were in the world, they saw her. Except for the most ancient of trees still standing, most of them had never laid eyes on her in their lifetime. The ancient trees cried as they recalled a time she would walk among them every single day, caring for them and loving them as only a mother could.
The others felt her love and saw her beauty. They felt her happiness and joy. They felt their eyes sting with emotion as she spoke to every one of them without saying a single word.
They had seen Mother Nature today.
But they were not humans who had forgotten that the earth was a breathing, living network which nourished Mother Nature. Not one of them felt that they were the only thing that mattered, and everything else was for their use.
Not one of them had only taken and never given. Every single one of them were part of this wondrous circle of life, with their beloved mother in the centre of it all.
Yes, they were not human. So they asked their mother, where are the humans mother? Are you upset with them? Did they disappear like so many of us have?
A mother is after all a mother. She loves all her children equally. She doesn’t differentiate between them, and showers her attention and focus on all. Mother Nature smiled, her smile radiating positive energy and calm, which soothed flora and fauna alike immediately.
No my children, they are locked away. They are grounded and on a timeout.
They need to think about their actions and what consequences these actions have on the rest of you. On me.
They need to find humility and compassion again.
They need to realise they are a small part of a much bigger picture and need to live as part of it, in harmony.
They need to think about how they want to live the rest of their lives. By only taking or giving and taking equally.
They need to find themselves, as how the earth intended them to be. Animals that live, breathe and thrive with other animals.
If they use this time wisely and pledge to living a life of mutual respect and coexisting with all living beings, they will be back.
When they go from feeling sorry for themselves to being sorry for their way of life, they will be back.
When they repent for abusing their privileges and sucking this earth dry of everything good and pure, they will be back.
And I will envelope them with all the love my heart holds for all of my children.