It’s an article by Tom Reese in yesterday’s Pacific Northwest Magazine about the Lake Washington wetlands near Seattle’s Arboretum. I actually found myself strangely upset by the article. Not only because he’s describing a place I’ve loved for years, but because he so carefully describes the contingency of the natural environment there.

Reese takes the pied-billed grebe as his touchstone, which is a good choice. If you know where to look, you can find the grebe’s nest resting on the lily pads. It’s exposed. It trusts to camoflauge to avoid disturbance. And the grebes there always make me worry because they’re so small and tentative, with so little to defend themselves. They’re the perfect metaphor for our stewardship of the natural refuges in our cities.

Plus, the seventeen photos that accompany the article online are also astonishingly good. Much better than ordinary newspaper shots. But you should go see for yourself.