Christina Apostolidi is the author of the children’s story “The Wolf and the Butterfly”*.
Here, she speaks of her experience during the Covid-19 lockdown and how it redefined her relationship with nature.
Once upon a time, there was a wolf. As other wolves do, he enjoyed spending his time lurking and preying on animals. Until one day, while chasing a butterfly, he began to notice all those amazing things he had overlooked. For the first time he admired the forest from above and heard the song of the river. His new, special friend showed him that there is much more to life than lurking and hunting.
While writing the wolf and butterfly’s story, I could never have imagined that I would one day need to send a text message in order to be allowed to leave my house, and only if this was for very specific reasons. I had not imagined that it would be so difficult to put into practice the essence of the story which is to appreciate the beauty which lies in all the small things around us.
However, I found that we can be very resourceful and stronger than we usually believe ourselves to be. All of us have a butterfly within, a side of ourselves that continues to marvel and with a strong desire to keep discovering new things. If one has a child or a dog, it becomes even easier to wake that inner butterfly. During the quarantine period, I simply followed my daughter and our little dog Maggie in their neighbourhood expeditions, under code number 6**.
For the first time ever, we explored unbuilt plots of land flooded in spring flowers, streams with bamboo dancing and salt crystals formed, hiding among the rocks and waiting patiently to be discovered. Strange insects, not just lovable butterflies and ladybirds, but also yellow spiders and armies of ants forming neat lines as they carried food to their nests. I rode my bike again and played games with Sofia that I hadn’t played since I was a child.
The fact that nature continues to resist, was such a pleasant surprise for us. Even in such densely populated cities as Heraklion and despite our best efforts to make it difficult – discarded rubble, useless objects and rubbish left in any free pieces of land. I sincerely hope we all realise that by protecting the environment, we gain not only in quality of life but also in experiences. A child’s joy when making spears from sticks, climbing up trees and discovering “precious” stones, is simply invaluable.
Now that movement restrictions have been lifted, we continue our explorations by using our car to approach nearby forests, gorges and beaches. You are probably going to ask “are you telling us that coronavirus was a good thing?” No, I’m not saying that. Actually, quite the opposite, I wish that all of this had never happened, for many reasons and especially for the loss in human lives. However, we must always have hope that one day, things will be better. And perhaps nature can now give us just that. Hope.
* “The Wolf and the Butterfly” by Christina Apostolidi is a story, beautifully illustrated by Serafim Stroubis, that inspires us to stop and take a moment to appreciate the beauty around us. Published by Minoas and available in bookstores.
**Code number 6 was sent by text message during the Covid-19 lockdown to indicate leaving home for exercise/walking of companion animals.