“It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done.” – Matthew Arnold
Tiny, barely there snowflakes lazily fell from the blurry grey sky this week with the promise of more to come. And as predicted, the first snowfall of a waning season arrived in the predawn to paint our world in “picture postcard” stokes evoking distant holiday memories.
Snowfalls are a rare event here on the West Coast and I eagerly looked forward to moving through the forest and our neighbourhood breathing in the cold air wafting down from the north while fluffy snowflakes touched mask-less faces keeping six feet apart.
A long winter’s walk through fragrant cedar and lacy bare trees beckoned – the snow covered trails offering a hushed respite from the everyday. We walked the upper trails, an area I haven’t traversed in a long while and the snowy vistas that greeted us were magical. We were wondering if we might come upon an elusive coyote but it may have been too cold for wandering. There are about twelve coyotes co-existing in the park although two aggressive coyotes were recently euthanized for nipping at joggers on trails bereft of human activity pre-pandemic. Thankfully, the rest have been left in peace and not seeing a coyote was good news after almost a month of trail closures to modify their behaviour (sadly, some park users may have contributed to this behavior change by befriending or feeding them).
Our snow day only lasted forty-eight hours resulting in walks near the edge of the park to look for remnants of snow at the base of trees and spread upon gardens. Mountain air and glorious sunshine merged to leave one feeling exhilarated – hearing the haunting sound of a French horn being played above the seawall by a young woman sitting on a bench and a few steps later, hearing the shivering notes of a lone bag piper added yet another sensory layer to a winter day hinting at better days to come…
Meteorological spring arrived March 1st with softer air, brighter blooms and longer days with exquisite smudged sunsets lighting up the buildings near us on fire. On a recent warm day knowing that many more will come, we made our way to our go-to park concession, Lumbermen’s Arch, for perfectly cooked fish and tasty chips, sitting outside with the welcome sun caressing our faces.
True spring has now arrived (the weeks seem to fly by!), the signs are everywhere – 19 Great Blue herons perching like gargoyles on nearby rooftops have begun to face the heronry, some of the previously empty nests hosting one or two pairs already. Leafing and blooming abound – dreams of shedding layers, toting a book and a thermos of freshly brewed tea to a park bench and strolling through sweet smelling forest fill our thoughts. Hardier souls are already pointing the way, a recent sunny lagoon walk revealed a solitary biker sitting against an observation deck, his faraway gaze on the waterfowl and woodland beyond, making me dream of summer but first, spring!