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There is in certain men … a quality of resilience, a sturdy refusal to acknowledge defeat, which aids them as effectively in affairs of the heart as in encounters of a sterner and more practical kind.
— P. G. Wodehouse
Resilience is a word that comes up here, where I live, every year after fire season. I was actually born and raised in Northern California and have lived here all my life except for 15 years in Florida. I have never experienced fire season like we have now, until I returned here in 2017. And every year since we have had massive fires.
But after each fire, we all start cleaning up and rebuilding and putting our community life back together again.
The word that comes up when we do this is resilience.
1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Yesterday Larry and I went to Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve . All the parks have been closed during the pandemic, but last week parks have been opened on a limited basis. We can now go to our “local” parks. That means if we can walk to it, we can go to the park, and those with handicapped license plates can drive in.
After being deprived of redwood forest for two months, yesterday we decided to just take the 20-minute drive to Armstrong Redwoods and see if we could get in.
As we approached, we were stopped by an officer who checked Larry’s driver’s license to make sure we were local, and she accepted us as locals. And they let us drive in and park because we had a handicapped license plate.
We basically had the entire park to ourselves. We didn’t see another person. It was just us and the forest. There was just a peace about it that we hadn’t experienced before.
As we left the park, the ranger at the gate—who has been there for decades—told us that the forest today isn’t like the forest in the past. When he started working there many years ago there was much more wildlife, which has disappeared since the number of visitors to the park has increased. Now, he said, since the park has been closed, the wildlife is returning. He sees deer, raccoon, and other native animals and birds there in the park with him.
I’ve heard this is happening in other places too. Animals are returning, skies are clearing, nature is emerging now that human activity is contained. Before our sheltering-in-place we couldn’t see the effect our massive human activity was having on ecosystems. But look, removing humans from local areas is restoring the natural integrity of ecosystems right before our eyes.
Life is resilient. It takes a lot to destroy life completely. Where there is a will there is a way, and the very essence of Life itself is the will to survive.
There is a lot of disruption and uncertainty in the world today. But apparently things need to change here on this planet. Larry and I have certainty something new will emerge that will be even better than what we are losing. Because Life is resilient and there is always a darkness before a dawn.