Friday, March 2, 2018

Spring-ing Up, a Busy March. . .

 Next week, posts on my bread-making (with links to a Sourdough Bread recipe) and on my newly completed Birkin sweater (shown in yesterday's Instagram post), but for today I just want to get us outside, in some Nurturing Nature. I've had such a craving for wild space, lately, and yesterday all the indoor projects got pushed aside, and Paul and I headed to Burnaby Lake. We expected the paths to be muddy, and they were in spots, even snowy still in a few places, but the Indian Plum -- Oemleria cerasiformis -- the first deciduous indigenous plant of the region to flower, to call out to the pollinators, to hurry along the waking-up process, was just beginning to open.
 And even though much of the lakeside walk through the woods was still hushed, the winter greens of lichen and moss glowed in the sunshine . . .
 So spring is on its way, and March -- we're already two days into the third month of the year! For Pater and I, the calendar is already well marked for the next thirty days:

two grandchildren turn Three;
we have full responsibility for a Five and an Almost-Three for five days while their parents enjoy some Travel Time;
we begin ballroom-dance classes at the local community centre (I know! Should be fun, but we're a bit nervous -- old dogs, new tricks, and all that);
and we have a week in Portland. . .

 Not only is March promising to be a busy month; ss well, it's always significant to me as my mother's birth month, and these past few years it's marked the anniversary of her death.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I've written about walking 'round this lake before, in the spring. in memory of walking it with Mom.

And although March was barely begun yesterday, I was delighted to find that the skunk cabbage, which so remind me of walking here with her, are beginning to poke their leaves out of the muck. I had to wade into that muck, my rubber boots sinking almost to mid-calf, to get these photos -- thinking, inevitably, of Mom, at 81, jumping in among the fleshy skunk cabbage leaves to pose for a photo, completely careless of getting her shoes muddy.

So it's not quite Spring yet, but the days are already noticeably longer here, the equinox only a few weeks away, and signs of growth abound.  We may yet see another snowfall here, and I know I've still got time to enjoy wearing my new sweater, but soon we'll be out there hiking and walking and riding our bikes and gardening. . . . or just sitting on the grass, or at a table, or on a bench, in the sun . . . I'm ready!

Today, though. . . today is grey here (although we have four or five days of sunshine forecast, just 'round the corner, can't wait!). I'm going to get myself to the gym, see if that rustles up some endorphins, and then I've planned a yarn store outing and a writing session in a favourite bakery/teashop. We have a sleepover with a Grand tonight, a first ballroom-dance class tomorrow, and that's it for the weekend plans so far. You?


22 comments:

  1. Good to get out and see signs of spring and enjoy memories of your mum. Places can be such good memory makers. Sounds like a fun family time this month and a trip to Portland. Spring will be with you before you know it. Good luck with the dancing, I look forward to hearing how you get on. Busy weekend here as eldest son turns 31. Where did those years go I wonder! B x

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    1. Happy Belated Birthday to your son -- Our eldest is 41, and I know what you mean -- it makes perfect sense, yet seems completely inconceivable. . .

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  2. So nice to see a little bit of green,even lichen and moss are great
    (and the walk remembering your mother.....)
    You'll love the dance classes,it is a wonderful idea,you'll see!
    I have acquaintances who started dance classes after 30 years of marriage-they are excellent now
    I'm boring while I'm whinning about things that are usual to you-after a lot of snow ,we had Siberian(as they call it in UK newspapers) "Beast fom the East" cold weather (I don't mind cold,as long as it's not connected with the ice )and yesterday freezing rain on top of all that. So,I'll stay at home
    Dottoressa

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    1. Bravo for your friends! We should have started at 30 years, as we definitely don't have enough left for us to get good in (especially judging from Saturday's class 😂 But at least we'll have fun trying to remember who moves which foot where! Hope that cold shifts away from you soon -- stay cosy!

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  3. This morning I did my regular saturday shopping at the local market. it was freezing! Half of the vendors had not even bothered to come, and the other half had retreated with their wares into tiny plastic tents. Everything is still covered with snow, even in the city. So in spite of the returning light it is very difficult to imagine anything like spring anywhere near. (Yesterday I walked to the library, but at -7°C and with a strong wind that was no fun either.)
    Good luck with your dance class. I did some ballroom-dancing some ten years ago and quite enjoyed it. The problem was that I did not have a permanent dancing partner and had to put up with some very strange people, indeed. That finally took the fun out of it.

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    1. I just checked the weather forecast for where you are, and apparently it's 12 degrees and sunny today, although it will drop back below freezing overnight and then move more to 8 to 11 degrees and rain. We didn't have the prolonged deeper cold and snow you did, but we did a similar bounce from 6 or 7 below (at night) and 15-20 centimetres of snow into something very close to Spring. Once it begins rolling, the momentum continues -- perhaps you're seeing a few signs of green, some bulb tips poking through? or a few leaves opening on the earliest shrubs? I hope so. . . .
      I can imagine what it would be like haven't to accept various partners in a dance class -- I don't think I'd tolerate that for very long. . .

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  4. Have fun with the dance class. George and I did it and had fun. Sounds like a busy month but also like you know when to refresh. Love the description of he walk, your thoughts meandering like their own walk, and the bits of green. Such a lovely bit of posting.

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    1. Thanks, Mardel. And the class was fun once we began to relax a bit -- very small, though. . .

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  5. Just thought I'd mention that your walk around the lake stimulated a memory of a time spent with my own mother that we both enjoyed (there aren't a whole lot of them, so I treasure each), and I was moved to write it down in a "Don't Forget" file where I am saving tiny memories of happiness, perhaps to be read back to me when I am older, greyer, and fuller of sleep.

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    1. Great idea to have a "Don't Forget" file, especially for those of us who don't write regular journals or diaries.
      Rosie

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    2. I, too, love the idea of this file. Those tiny memories of happiness, sometimes, are all we have of/with some people, and it can be easy to lose them in the larger narratives we tend to construct. I'm finding this out through a writing project. . . "older, greyer, and fuller of sleep" yes, if we have to have the first two, please, let's at least have the third as well ;-)

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  6. I've been away visiting my mum but picked up some tulips on the way back into town and did a 'springification' (pillows, throws etc.) when I got home yesterday. Weekly breakfast walk with a friend this morning. All just in time for our (Winnipeg) version of the Beast from the East. Forecast snowfall ranges from 10cm to 60cm (apparently Colorado lows are hard to predict). We do happily have the infrastructure and resources to manage these things and the temperatures are mild so not as deadly as a real winter blizzard. But oh, if we get all that snow, it will be heavy for shovelling! :(

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    1. I do feel embarrassed arguing for Spring's Impending Arrival to you who live in the land where that seems unlikely right now.
      When you say that snow will be heavy for shovelling, is that because it tends to be wetter snow at this time, or just because snow's always too heavy anyway? I ask because we had a heavy snowfall very late one spring -- in April -- and because so many trees had leafed out already and thus caught so much of the heavy snow on its way down, there was much, much arboreal damage, limbs breaking off, main trunks split, etc.
      Of course, no one knows like a Winnipegger or Montrealais or Ottawan just how quickly Spring can arrive once it's decided to -- I'm always amazed by that week in April or May when tulips seem to push out of the ground and grow a foot seemingly all at once.

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    2. Your spring postings bring hope!

      You're right, the snow is heavy because it's wet, and there was some rain first, so the bottom layer is slush (and it's still snowing). Sometimes it's so light, it falls off the shovel, like shovelling feathers.

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  7. Your version of "that's it so" is like my version of "oh my god can I possibly do this much!" I hope you give yourself full credit for the scale of how much you do and how varied are your interests. xoxox.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not good at that but working at it. Backfired a bit this weekend, tbh.

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  8. Lovely post. You remind me I need to get outside. I lost my exercise rhythm during the physical therapy (still ongoing) for the car accident whiplash, and I haven't gotten it back yet. Soon, I hope, I miss it. You have a full March ahead of you. A week in Portland sounds wonderful. As I've mentioned, Portland is on my Possible Places to Live list. A few days ago I received an email from my niece's husband asking if they can send me a ticket so I'll come for a visit. My trips anywhere have been limited by my search for a place to buy, my mom's illness, which began as I sold my place in SF at the end of 2012, and her death in 2015, and 2017's lost year of concussions. It's time for me to make a plan for Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria, if I can manage it in a more popular time of year. Usually I try to go in deepest winter. If I'm in Vancouver when you're in town, I'd love to meet you. Spring was out all over here in February. I was in San Francisco on 14 February photographing spring flowers and blossoming trees. To our good fortune, the last weeks have brought rain, intense all day today, which means snow pack in our mountains, and water for our overcrowded state. You and I discussed Skunk Cabbage/Swamp Lantern on Instagram. It's an extraordinary plant. I love it in particular because it reminds me how magical nature can be; how much more unexpected and strange. You mentioned in this piece that your mother was born and died in the month of March, and you have a link to a 2012 photo of her out hiking. Do you mind me asking what year she died? My mother was born on 15 August and died at 94 on 28 August 2015. My parent's wedding anniversary was 14 August. August has been an intense month in the two years since my mother died. I have a sense this year will be easier, but my mind sometimes has ideas of its own, so we shall see. Enjoy your March.

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    1. I know how much you love Portland -- how lovely of your niece and husband to offer to bring you up for a visit -- I hope you can take advantage of that soon, that the healing really takes hold and that life becomes easier. And absolutely, if you get to Vancouver sometime, I would love to meet up.
      My mom died in 2013, which I can't quite believe is already five years ago this month. My parents' anniversary was in August as well. . .

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  9. Great post Frances... It made me smile! My own mum was very much a "jumper" :) always enthusiastic, wanting to be out and about walking ... never happy in the valleys... she'd point to the mountain tops, when strolling in the Lake District, staying, "I want to be up there!" One of her older grandchildren, was talking recently about how she'd climb trees with them :)
    It's wonderful to read how much you have to look forward to ... I really hope your dancing classes go well and that they're fun! So good for general health etc. as well.
    Hope you're enjoying the weekend ... It's rather cold, grey and snowy here. I'm "enjoying" (perhaps, a poor choice of word!) some rest and relaxation , after being unwell, whilst we were away in Switzerland ... Initially, rather like my mum, I was so frustrated that I couldn't get out and about on the mountains ... we'd planned to go to a higher altitude which we weren't able to do ... but then I just appreciated how lucky I was, simply to be there! ... and slept!! :)
    Rosie

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    1. Ha! My mom would climb trees as well, and somewhere there's a photo of her in her late 60s or 70s walking on a pair of homemade stilts. . .
      So sorry that you were ill while in Switzerland -- it's tough to let go of the expectations we have for a trip (as I found recently in Italy). Sounds as if you made a good attitude shift (and by now, you'll already be looking forward to next time ;-)

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  10. Ballroom! You are full of surprises- hope you tell us about it. I have been reading avidly but not commenting b/c went back to work on a project for longtime client. A short project- about a month's work, but no time for much else. The photos are glorious- we have no signs of anything even close to blooming yet.

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    1. Good for you! And lucky longtime client to be able to coax you back to a project.
      The ballroom isn't the particular goal -- any kind of dance classes would have done, but these are convenient and easy as a way to try something out. . . We'll see. . .

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