The 30,000-plus acre inferno that swept through the Columbia River Gorge last summer was shocking. Many of the hiking trails that fell in the blaze's path are still indefinitely shuttered.

But as a WW reporter pointed out a couple weeks after the fire, such disasters (however unnatural in cause) are an unavoidable part of nature. Plants, it turns out, return quickly to burned areas—and they usually put on dazzling displays when they do.

In recent days, the Columbia River Gorge Forest Service has been documenting the green new life that is beginning to emerge from the burn.

So, yes, shit's bleak elsewhere in the world. So forget about that for a minute and enjoy these photos of tenacious baby plants valiantly taking over the forest's charred remains.