Wildlife Count by Debbie O'Rourke: Humber Bay Park East, Toronto

Day 2, May 11: Drawings and notes in hand, it's time to begin carving. I've already decided not to risk marring the most attractive driftwood: several are bone-white with beautiful rippling textures. So I wander a bit aimlessly. One of the less impressive logs is a venerable old-growth stump with major branches cut off one end. It's about waist-height and seven feet long. In its mottled greyish surface I see a swimming beaver, water patterns, and a place for a sitting turtle.

Beaver form in log, Humber Bay lakeshore: ink drawing

Though Ive wanted to do this kind of project for years, I'm now worried about the wisdom of making any changes to these big beautiful logs. There's a ladybird beetle on the log, almost burrowed into a spot that has already been damaged by a pen-knife. It helps that this one has already been violated. There, hesitantly, I put my chisel. So the ladybird is the first creature to be commemorated.

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