promises of spring

My personal barometer tells me that spring is happening. The snowbanks outside might not look like it, but there is definitely some warmth creeping back into the sunshine and the temperature fluctuations indicate the annual battle between the shifting seasons. Even though my body hates the weather issues, spring is my favourite of the seasons and I am feeling somewhat desperate for this year. I did see a robin on February 13th chirping at me from atop a snowbank and on the 19th I found a pussywillow out in soft grey buds. Perhaps the robin and the willow were just confused, but I am clinging to them as signs that spring is coming.

Pussywillow

Spring. Squelching through vernal pools and delightful mud puddles. Listening to the songs of mating frogs and finding tadpoles in spring pools. Daffodils and hyacinths, my favourite of the spring bulbs, pushing their green noses through the dark, moist earth to share their brilliant colours and fragrance. The red haze, already on the maple trees as sap begins to flow up from deep roots to the topmost branches, turns to red buds and spider-like flowers, then finally tiny umbrella leaves. Clouds of apple and pear blossoms, alive and humming with life, laden dark limbs. Dozy bees bumbling through lilacs. Shimmery beetles and chubby grubs return with clouds of butterflies. Worms trace their trails through soft mud in the misty mornings. Morning bird song changes as robins and blackbirds return. Creatures of all sizes, from insects to toads and snakes, basking in the warm sunshine. Purple violets peeking through the freshly green grass. Warm, sun-dried laundry scented with fresh-cut grass. Fresh thunderstorms rinsing away winter’s grim and leaving clean, rain-scented air filled with cheerful bird song.

Yup, I am ready for spring.

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Autumn Comes in the Night

Fall came in the night. I knew it before I even opened my eyes this morning in the change of bird song. I love the autumn. I love the warm, bright days bathed in golden sunshine and the chilly nights studded with sharp stars. I love the blaze of golden rod and the purple swathes of wild asters. I love the hues of changing leaves against the brilliant blue sky. I love the music of the crickets, who sing all day now, the firecrackers of grasshoppers beneath my feet and the last flutterings of butterflies. I love the nourishment autumn brings to my soul.

My Piece of Heaven

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I’m just back from two lovely days on the Bruch Peninsula. I went camping with a friend at Cyprus Lake, where we explored caves and rock formations along the Georgian Bay coastline. Each new vista was more amazing than the last. The place that blew me away the most was Halfway Log Dump (named from its role in the logging era). The white cobble beach was spectacular: not a speck of sand or soil in sight, just drifts and drifts, meters deep, of rounded white rocks highlighted by the occasional black, blue or pink stone. In places, slabs of flat rocks were exposed, with cracks running through them as straight as a ruler and filled with small stones or water. Giant boulders rested on the beach in places; having been heaved up by the ice, they now rested on tiny rocks. It was far too beautiful to absorb it all.

 

Killarney Provincial Park

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I spent five gorgeous days in July canoeing through Killarney Provincial Park in semi-northern Ontario. It was my first backcountry adventure and I loved every minute of it. I saw my first black bear and a merganser duck with a dozen or more little ones in tow. Loons and bullfrogs lulled us to sleep, and the loon calls echoing up and down the lake were spine-tingling. We canoed through Bell, Three-Mile, Balsam, David, Crystal, and Johnnie Lakes. There were only a couple of odd cottages, which predated the founding of the park, and one motor boat on Bell and Three-Mile. After the first portage it was just us and nature, with the occasional fellow canoeist passing by. I heard a float plane a few times, but the sky was beautifully free of jet contrails.