Solstice. Soulstice. That's what this time of year is for me. And therefore why it takes me twice as long to get anywhere if I'm driving. And why I carry binoculars and a camera with me everywhere I go. Because it's spring, birds are returning, the land is waking up, and so am I.
Perhaps if Canada were equatorial I'd feel differently, but it's not. It has four distinct seasons and each one evokes strong emotions, and requires a special commitment from the people who live here. It is not an easy place to live, particularly in winter, and especially if you haven't prepared yourself properly. It's not as simple as going out and buying mittens, boots, hats, warm coats and a snow shovel. Our forefathers not only had to grow their own food, they had to preserve and store it as well, they had to think about warmth, and plan their sources of heat for long, cold winter nights. They had to be prepared, and they had to survive. Of course it's easier today, but I think that the challenges our great grandparents faced are part of who we are today, and when we make it through another winter, we celebrate. We go outside, touch the earth, smell the deep, wet, woodsy forest, and welcome back the songs of spring.
Everywhere I go I see signs. Vast skeins of geese heralding their arrival, honking overhead. Turtles emerging from their muddy beds to bask once more in sunshine. Pairs of ducks locked in their ritual dances. Nest building, song singing, bawdy, raucous Spring! Welcome! And linger.