Coronavirus Brings Winter for Business


Human society is facing an enormous challenge. Around the world, the coronavirus is forcing us to radically change the way we live and work. Like trees shedding their leaves at the onset of winter, we are discarding everything that isn’t immediately vital to our lives. Spring came at the cusp of the worldwide lockdowns, but unfortunately for businesses, some remain in the scarcity of winter.

We’ve had to let go of some of the things we believed made our lives fulfilling – gathering with friends, concerts, team sports, cinemas, restaurants, church, or temple. Just as a tree cannot survive without leaves, but still discards them to get through the winter, we’re discarding these things to get us through the crisis. This is a new experience, a painful and traumatic one, but we can survive it if we work together, and come out stronger.

Throughout, it’s important to remember that this isn’t the end. When the leaves tumble away in the fall, the trees look dead. They stand like skeletons through the winter, silhouettes stripped bare of the canopy that provides them with food and the world with color. But that does not mean that winter has killed the trees, any more than this bleak period will kill society.

By abandoning their leaves, trees conserve their strength through the winter, when sunlight is short and the weather harsh. This ensures that they have the energy they need to grow back stronger in the spring, to bud and bloom, to stretch out their branches to the sun.

Now we’re doing the same thing. By going without in the short term, we ensure our long-term health as a society. By reducing the spread of the disease, social distancing, and self-isolation conserve the resources health services need to save lives. This gives us time to build up the resources to treat this disease and to endure the hardships that come with it.

Once the initial wave has passed and we’ve built up resources for treatment, we’ll be able to rebuild what we’ve let go. Like the trees unfurling fresh leaves into the growing sunshine, we’ll grow back stronger than before.

This is the critical thing about the seasons. Nature doesn’t just survive the coming and going of winter – it grows stronger because of it. Each time it grows back, it does so better than before. The trees grow taller. Fresh leaves better capture the sunlight. Flowers bloom in sunnier spots.

When this is over, we won’t go back to where we were before – we’ll achieve something better. We’ll have a chance to re-examine old ways of working and living and to ask, “Was that really the best we could do?” Instead of reforming our old leaves, we’ll create new ones, brighter and lusher than ever before.

Just as winter gives way to spring, this trying time will give way to hope and light on the other side of it. It’s not going to be easy, and things may never be the same again, but hope springs eternal.

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