I finally managed - after almost two months - to get up the courage to drive right the way around Stanley Park after the windstorm devastated it. There are parts of the park that look like they've been clear cut or that a fire has roared through them - and if any of you have seen slopes where either of things has happened, you know exactly what it looks like.
But there is some good news. The heronry in the park - where great blue herons nest each spring - while damaged, has been repaired, partly by the parks board, and partly by the herons themselves. The heronry is in one of the least damaged parts of the park and the parks board rushed to clean up the damaged branches and to clean off the debris and put up the fences that keep sightseers out from under the giant trees while the herons nest, lay their eggs and nurture the babies.
Several of the nests were blown right out of the trees but this is where the herons came in - they picked up the nests - the whole nests - and flew them back up to the treetops. A miracle, really.
I love herons, they're one of my favorite birds, and my very first published book - Dragonflies and Dinosaurs - was inspired by the herons in Stanley Park. One day I was walking through the park at low tide and started counting the herons - the first sentence of the book came to me - "We measured our progress by red-tailed hawks and the iridescent carcasses of dragonflies flickering against the windshield in the warm light of the setting sun." Insert great blue herons in place of red-tailed hawks and you have exactly how this book came to me. So despite the devastation and the sorrow I felt on my trip through the park, I was heartened by the herons and their spirit and grace.
I guess there really is a silver lining...