• Alex Gulland

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change ― Albert Einstein

We are 'living in unprecedented times’. No doubt you have heard the above phrase repeated a lot over the last few months.


I am sure that all over the world, budding scriptwriters are scribing away furiously. I have come up with a couple of scenarios for possible film subjects below.  '2 Meters' A short but long-distance love story 'Roll with Punches'

A drama about the violent rise to power of the once humble toilet paper 'Rinse and Repeat' How hand washing created a new Olympic category Some people are already comparing the Covid-19 situation with Steven Soderbergh's film Contagion (2011).  The movie depicts the breaking down of government and public health systems, in the face of a new and deadly pandemic, while the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) struggles to find a cure.

Nearly everyone I know, is doing their best to keep their businesses running through whatever means possible.  For the majority of us, this means working from home, but for others, it could mean a complete lifestyle change. 

ADAPTING

When anthropologists and scientists look back on this time, they will undoubtedly have access to some remarkable case histories both of survival and sadly, in some cases, failure. However, as I am sure we are all learning, humans are capable of the most amazing acts of kindness.  While some are going into panic mode, other people are reaching out to each other. They are helping the vulnerable, and supporting the elderly in ways that possibly would not have happened, a couple of months ago.  Significant markets like The Cannes Film Festival, MIP TV and, other high profile events are either being postponed or taken online. This dramatic change from bricks and mortar to online virtual markets could change the way that the film and television industry operates in the future.  Putting the drama of the film and television industry to one side. I am sure that over the next couple of months, that as well as becoming more flexible regarding work, many of you will start looking to connect with nature and animals a lot more.  I am fortunate to have a dog and a garden, but sadly I am unable to spend time with the horses, that I love to work alongside.  All my Equine Facilitated Learning client sessions, are postponed to later in the year, due to safe-distancing. However, even though I lack contact with the horses, it does not stop me from researching and connecting, with other Equine Learning Facilitators. Through my research into the history of the horse, I am finding out that flexibility is nothing new in the horse world.  It seems that over the years, they have quietly been getting on with evolving, to whatever environment they find themselves in and continue to do. Charles Darwin spent a large portion of his life, studying the adaptability of horses over a million years. But we have only recently discovered how evolution has helped horses in the modern world, by giving them such flexible genomes.

SABLE ISLAND HORSES

Horses living on Canada's Sable Island, are a great example of this evolutionary change. This remote location located out in the North Atlantic, is a 90-minute plane flight east from Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Over 450 horses live on the island existing only on beach grass and sea peas. These horses were initially abandoned there by a Boston entrepreneur, before the American Revolution - over 250 years ago.


No one feeds them or takes care of them. The Sable Island Horses are the world's only free-roaming, feral horse population. They are reliant on whatever the sea provides them with, and over the years, their numbers have increased. 

SABLE ISLAND HORSES

Violent storms frequently batter the island.

However, the Sable Horses' physique has adapted to allow them to live in their harsh environment. Their pasterns, (part of the leg of a horse between the fetlock and the top of the hoof) have become shorter, giving their legs a goat-like look.  This fairly recent evolutionary change enables them to survive to graze more effectively, on sandy and rough ground. They live predator-free and divide the island up between them, and some would say they have even formed group hierarchies. I think that it's easy to romanticise about this incredible band of horses, roaming free across beaches with endless white sands and no humans in sight.  The truth is I suspect, that they live a very tough and harsh life, in a situation thrust upon them - as this current situation, which has now been thrust upon the world. But against the odds, they have successfully adapted and live peacefully with each other and most importantly - survived.

LOOKING TO NATURE

Perhaps the following quote from Suzy Kassem, the American writer, poet, and philosopher, is even more relevant for these difficult times… “Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.” Whereas I don't think any of us are going to evolve as dramatically as the Sable Island Horses. Apart from maybe growing longer arms to reach up to grab the last toilet roll! I believe that we are probably going to find that when this current situation does end, we will all be more grateful for everyday experiences and events. I am already looking forward to the satisfying act of grooming a horse, sitting around a dinner table with friends, walking down a busy High Street and many other simple pleasures. 

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