Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Waking of Spring

Every morning and 6 am, weather permitting, I take my coffee & my devotional magazine onto the deck and listen to the land wake up.  It is my favourite time of day.  As spring has crept in I have felt somewhat like I’ve been watching the whole acreage wake up from its winter slumber.  More and more varieties of birds have arrived, many of them serenade us daily, much to our delight!  We have discovered frogs in the small pond out front, herons flying over head, and more kinds of plants than we’ve ever seen!  Every day that I step outside new leaves are opening up on this bush or that tree, spring blossoms beginning to appear and slowly open, new discoveries are there to be found every day.

We were supposed to move here in the summer.  If we had, we would have discovered much of this already.  But moving in November means most of the birds have flown south and most plants have died or gone dormant.  So we really are discovering new things with the arrival of spring.   Every day feels like the day we first arrived at the property with so much to explore, so much to enjoy!

When I was a child, we spent many summer holidays camping in national and provincial parks.  Banff, Jasper, Long Beach and Honeymon State Park in the US were some of my favourites.  One of my favourite parts of these trips was learning about all the flora and fauna of the area.  In those days when you entered the park you would be given pamphlets on all sorts of things, and I poured through them all!  My favourites were the ones that explained how to identify the various trees, animal tracks and wildlife.  I spent days collecting pine needles and inspecting bark so I would know what kind of trees surrounded our campsite.  I sat for hours in an empty campsite, crouched beside a picnic table, with bits of bread on my knees and shoulders, hoping a squirrel or chipmunk would be brave enough to come get them.  And I sat perfectly still as they did!  When we camped near the ocean, I could spend all afternoon just watching the surf and listening to the roaring waves.  The first time I went to the ocean with my husband he was astounded at the number of pictures I took of the waves.  This was before the days of digital photography, back when we had to pay for each print!  “They’re all the same,”  He said.  “No they’re not,” I insisted.  “They’re all waves,” he was sure.  “But they’re all DIFFERENT waves,” I explained.  My goal was to capture a wave just as it crested and began to break.  I had pictures of waves at every different stage, but very few at that precise moment that I was looking for.  But I loved watching and trying to capture that moment.

Nature is inspiring.  Virtually all of the poetry of my youth was written on camping trips.   A year did not feel complete if I had not been camping, not spent a week or two exploring and enjoying nature by day, sitting by a campfire by night.   That is, in part, why I looked forward so much to our move to the acreage.  On these warmer spring days I feel like I’m camping, only I get to live here!  Every time that realization comes to mind, I smile.

One of my favourite times of day is first thing in the morning.  My husband leaves for work at 6 am, and if the weather cooperates I go straight to the deck where I listen to the birds wake up.  Just one or two songs at first, then others join in one by one.  I count it a great privilege to listen to the birds wake up.  To hear them call to each other as they start their day.  The rippling brook gives the underlying melody to their symphony.  The woodpeckers add rhythm.  And the sun bursts out over the trees in the east like the conductor, bringing it all to life.  The higher the sun, the more “instruments” join in.  The percussion of the woodpeckers, the cooing of the doves, the chattering of the squirrels and the many, many songs of the other birds from whistles to cheeps, long shrill calls to short chirps.

Through the day I enjoy the sounds as I wander the grounds, discovering trees with new leaves, shoots coming up from the ground, and now buds on some of those shoots.  Soon those buds will be opening and I will finally be able to identify many of the plants I am discovering.  In future posts I will share pictures and hopefully names of these discoveries.  This is part of the adventure, the excitement, of my new life in the country!

As I write I am sitting on my deck at dusk, fighting off the mosquitoes, but feeling it’s worth it to hear the steady chorus of the tree frogs.  Various birds chime in from time to time with their wide range of songs, some chattering persistently, others calling out at long intervals.  The air is still and cool, carrying the pungent and fresh mixture of spruce, pine and cedar.  I can hear the bubbling of the creek behind the house.  Soon the birds will rest for the night and the bats will take over.  On nights when we’re out after dark we are treated to the high, squeaky sound of their nightly conversations.  I can’t wait for the weather to be warm enough to sleep with the window open.  To be lulled to sleep by the creek and the crickets will be heavenly!

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