04 January 2008

Halifax -- Point Pleasant Park, and the Devastation of Hurricane Juan

It's been several years since Hurricane Juan
blasted its way inland over Point Pleasant
Park, Halifax, and onward across parts of
Nova Scotia. I recall the vivid television images
of downed trees on city streets and, later, when
flying out of Halifax, I saw the chaos of
criss-crossed trees that marked the storm's
path beyond the city.

I live near Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, and
don't often visit Halifax. However, I had
intended to visit Point Pleasant Park, in part
to mourn for a lost forest. Yet, for one reason
or another, I stayed away from the area.

I stayed away until a month ago, when I went
walking there with a friend. I was shocked! I
can't imagine how the Park must have looked
immediately after Juan. Whereas, earlier, there
were large, old trees, now I could look out
over young growth all the way to the harbour.

The Park is transformed, and reminds me of
a landscape that is recovering from the ravages
of a forest fire. I suppose, on some level, this is
nature's way of cleansing the area, to begin a
new cycle. Or, perhaps, I'm simply trying to
rationalize or make the best of such destruction.
If one act of nature had taken a slightly different
turn, those old trees would still be standing.

I feel a deep remorse for that forest. So many
of life's experiences are like that -- if they had
taken a slightly different turn. . . .

However, on another level, Point Pleasant Park
remains a beautiful place for city and urban
dwellers to walk and to be with nature. The
atmosphere has changed, and most of the large
trees have gone, but we can rejoice in the new
life that's growing there.

Laurie Lacey
Hebbs Cross, Nova Scotia

p.s. I usually don't write formal articles and post
them on this blog. However, I wanted to say a
few words about my visit to the park. I had intended
to send it to a newspaper for publication, but
decided to post it here.

Please feel free to post the article in your blog, on
your website, or to print it in a hard copy publication.
However, if you do so, you must note the source
(the URL to this blog), and keep my name and
address as author/location of the article.