An unmistakable, unusual creature stands there, in the middle of the man- made pond, bobbing over his spindly legs: clandestine. Only because he’s not doing what creatures like him do. Like the myth of the ship that first landed in America, supposedly unseen despite it’s colossal size, as the story goes, by those living around and observing the shores. Simply because they had never seen anything like it before. This Blue Heron is just like that ship - he’s not supposed to be here, so he isn’t. Joggers circling him on the path don’t notice; bikers riding past don’t notice. People walking by, lost in their heads, don’t see. But I understand this phenomena, or at least I imagine I understand it; I see him. And I get closer. I’m walking through Parc Lafontaine. The sun is finally breaking through the gray mist that seemed to permanently settle over us the last month, or two. The rain was endless. Is this the blurry line between impending climate catastrophe and new adaptations?
Two winters ago I saw a fox downtown, on Atwater and Guy, just a few blocks away from the inebriated screams and the car horns puncturing the urban night. Four- or was it five - years ago, an owl howled like a cat from the tree in the McGill campus, where the reservoir used to be. That tree is gone now. Around the same time, the warm weather fooled the geese in PEI to stay just a little too long, and they were stranded there all winter, removed from their migratory path, freezing.
Maybe others do see the blue heron, but I don’ t think they see what it means. I don't think they understand that these reclusive animals, the owl and the fox and the heron, this isn't what they do. I imagine this is one of those unexpected effects of climate change. Cities will continue to artificially provide for those living in them, provide for some at least, while the creatures who aren’t human - and many, many who are - watch their homelands die. There will no choice but to come in, to where the food and noise and headlights are. Despite their better judgement, despite the fact they can’t stand our noise and our lights and our disgusting plastic food. But maybe that is all the food that will be left. And maybe we will have no other choice and no where else to go but to the park where we bike and jog in circles, some of us still looking at each other, thinking, is it a good or bad omen to see you here today?