Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sunrise, 7:59. . .

 This pre-sunrise scene had me outside in my slippered feet yesterday morning, about 7:40. . . and when I checked the official time for sunrise this morning, I see it arrived at 7:59. Every winter, this is when I feel a shift, the day that sunrise happens before 8. The snowdrops hinted at winter's weakening, the cyclamen blooming bubble-gum-pinkly along my neighbour's boulevard underlined that hope, the daffodil's green swords poke assuredly toward spring in gardens everywhere. But it's when the official clocks agree that the sun's arriving before 8 that I begin to really believe. . . .

Of course, winter is quite manageable here, most weeks, and we may scrape through without any significant snowfall . . . . although our snow often arrives in February, and given the coastal potential for precipitation, when it arrives clad in white in can seriously shut us down (Ah, she sighs, perhaps a snow day?)

Meanwhile, the main form of white between horizon and sky here is cloud and fog.  Below, a misty scene I shot with my cellphone from the ramp down to our little island commuter ferry a few mornings ago. Note, to the right, a sailboat that capsized after a winter storm and has been abandoned. We're all waiting to see when it's going to be dragged away.  . .


Also meanwhile, of course, most of my country is submerged in serious winter, and earlier sunrises are hardly convincing. January and February and March test the spirit, I know. . . .

So I'm off to apply some ice to my shoulder now, and I will think of you and imagine how well I would bear up in so many months sub-zero. Tell me, though, would you all, what are the signs that most convincingly tell you that spring is on its way -- and when does that usually happen, chez vous?

23 comments:

  1. Maman and I were driving around Kerrisdale on Monday and we actually saw some misguided pink cherry blossoms. I found my snowdrops and the crocus are ready to bloom. We also saw witch hazel in bloom. Monsieur and I heard a songbird yesterday morning. The male redwing blackbirds are staking out their territory on the dyke. We do have a short winter on the West Coast.

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    1. We have winter-blooming plum trees (I think that's what they are) across the street from us in Vanc'r -- astonishing, really!
      Witch hazel! I love it! Those surprisingly intricate yellow blooms and their scent! And yes, the birds -- I love redwing blackbirds, love the day I spot that first flash of red-yellow and hear that distinctive call. . . thanks for getting me in a spring mood!

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  2. Snowdrops are my harbingers of Spring. I love seeing the brightly coloured primulas for sale in the shops and usually buy a few to dress up the front porch.
    Birdsong and nesting also alert me to the longer hours of daylight. I look forward to Spring as it means I will be out in the garden puttering happily soon.

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    1. Hmmm, now I'm thinking I should pick up a few baskets of those primulas -- the winter arrangements on the porch are looking a bit weary. . . thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. Light, light and more light. It was light at 4.45 today. I can see it and feel. No snow or low temperatures this year -Yet. So looking forward to Spring.

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    1. It's precisely 4:45 as I answer you and yes, it's still light here and going to be for quite a while longer . . . so encouraging, isn't it?!

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  4. That first photo is so ethereally, magnificently beautiful! Here in Mtl (-27 with the windchill today), it is no longer light at 4:40 pm., but spring is a ways off- we can easily get snow in April. Sometime in March you see the young girls' bare legs stuck into Uggs, a good foot of gooseflesh between boot-top and skirt.

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    1. Yes, I thought of you and felt guilty about posting this. . . . and yet, with good humour and characteristic witty observation, you give us that sharp image of fashion's gooseflesh in a cold city -- thank you!

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  5. It's smell - easier to sniff out in the frozen east than here, but I can smell spring as it arrives here too.
    I knew, when I saw your photo, that we were on the same wavelength yesterday morning. I stopped on my way to work to snap a photo - had to! I knew that the scene wouldn't last and that I needed to save it for later in the day when I needed a pick-me-up. I'll post it later this evening.

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    1. Sometimes a wet earth smell and then something green, no? And the wild daphne, the weed we should be eradicating (daphne laureolis, spurge laurel) enchants me every year, some late January evening when I catch a scent of its bergamot-mimicking flowers. . . . now I must check out your photo. I can always use a pick-me-up!

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  6. Saturday's the big day for us, sunrise pre 8am wise, according to the BBC. I've never looked it up before, so thank you for bringing this up. Calls for a bit of a celebration to mark this pre 8 date, I feel, given the dreariness of the winter. Shall insist that my girlfriends go large on our post run Saturday morning coffees and we channel thoughts of fluffy lambs, hosts of golden daffodils etc. In the rain...

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    1. I only realized a few years ago that I could track the earlier sunrises on our Environment Canada weather websites.
      Didn't know I had a running reader in the UK -- how fun to make a habit of running with girlfriends and then having a follow-up coffee. . . .

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    2. Yes, it is fun. And if we spend more longer on the coffee than on the running then so what? Brains and bodies both given a little workout.

      Hope your recovery is proceeding apace

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  7. It's the slant of light, a little stronger, a little more intense. Warmth on my back. The first shoots of spring bulbs make me itch to get out into the garden and finish the autumn cleanup that I abandoned.

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  8. Hit publish before commenting on the rare and beautiful colour in your photo. Lavender blue. So lovely.

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    1. Yes, the slant of the light, for sure, and I also recognize that push to finish the autumn cleanup . . . very tempted right now to pull some of the mulch/leaves off the garden that harbours the crocuses, but I know we have a good chance of frost yet, so I may just wait and make them push their own way through.

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  9. The photos are beyond beautiful - thanks for sharing them.
    It's easier to gauge the changing light in our evenings rather than our mornings. I could have worn my sunglasses when walking to work yesterday - around 4:45 - for the first time in several months. Unfortunately, my head was buried so deep within the hood of my long, down coat that they really weren't necessary...
    Bird songs are my favorite harbinger of spring.

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    1. You're very welcome! And yes, I'm generally more attentive to the evening slant of sunset, especially now that I'm often mid-commute by then. This afternoon, I visited a girlfriend just after 5 and it was still light as I headed to her place. . . bird songs, absolutely!

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  10. Tonight it was still light at 5 pm. Yeah! Even if it was -20 for a high in Ottawa....the longer daylight always gives hope for spring. And planning one's wardrobe for an upcoming trip south doesn't hurt either!

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    1. We had light (sunshine even!) after 5 today as well. Thank goodness our temps were higher than yours (sorry!). Lovely to have some warmer southern temps to look forward to, lucky you!

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  11. Yes, I agree, it's the smell. But no hopes of it yet, as winter is just arriving in these parts (North of Germany), with icy nights and snow and the lot. But the light is coming back indeed.

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    1. So pleased to hear from a commenter from North of Germany (northern Germany?) -- that's a first that I know of.
      Would you say the smell is a wet earth smell? or of new vegetation? a combination?

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    2. Yes, northern Germany.
      And yes again, it's wet earth mostly. As far as I remember it comes very suddenly. I step out of the door one morning - and there it is. No chance of that at the moment though, as everything is frozen solid.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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