Early Spring not far from the Cold Northwest Atlantic

Early spring in Newfoundland and Labrador is nothing like what see in the colouring books at the grocery store or illustrations in mainstream childrens’ literature.


No warm spring showers here. Winter’s cold lingers far longer than it should; only the frequency of the things we lovingly refer to as ‘weather events’ diminishes. Between the ever-widening gap between bouts of snow and freezing rain you start to see children making their tentative steps back outside: a dad with a child on a bike, a scarfed mom pushing a well-bundled baby in a stroller along the still-salty sidewalk, a pickup ball-hockey game in the paved cul-de-sac in front of the house.

Not too long ago that dad would have been me and the hockey players my kids and their friends.


Spring planting? With frosts running sometimes as late as June no-one will even consider placing a seed in the ground yet. Maybe late May or early June. We’ll see.


When you venture out you don’t see people out prepping the lawns. It’s hard to do that through the snow and ice that still lingers, despite the few rays from the sun. It’s far too low in the sky to provide much warmth yet.

From newfoundlandlabrador.com

So we go where our hearts bring us, to the ocean’s edge. The icebergs…on their way south they sometimes find themselves grounded off our coasts; tall and towering, as if sculpted by winter-maddened artists. Too many days battling the dark, the snow and the freezing spray resulted in a surreal acid-trip top masking a work that lies mostly unseen, grounded for now and slowly melting is the deathly cold Atlantic blue.


Still, signs of new life are starting to show. The weekly store flyers proclaim that the new inventory is ready and on sale. Can THEY be wrong? Young moose find themselves increasingly unwelcome as their mothers prepare for the new calves that will appear over the next few weeks. Confused and lost, far too often they find themselves wandering our increasingly busy roads, an ever-present danger for drivers who sometimes have other things on their minds besides driving.



The land beyond the cities and towns is still evergreen plus brown and white. Where people live the colours are predominantly the browns of exposed ground and dirty white where the sand and mud infused snow is slowly melting.



Discarded coffee cups and food wrappers bloom where the flowers should. But soon they’ll be gone too.   Green is still months away but it can’t come soon enough.


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
This entry was posted in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Society and Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Early Spring not far from the Cold Northwest Atlantic

  1. elkement says:

    OK – I stop complaining that winter seems to be here to stay in middle Europe 🙂 Usually we have spring when the calender says so 😉

  2. Thanks for the tour around your backyard … much appreciated. As one who is never able to travel very far from the farm it is nice when photos bring me to places that I will (likely) never see. Keep ’em coming and spring advances. D

    • Hopefully things will slowly improve. On my reply to Elke’s comment I included two I took this morning…back to winter. Hopefully it will be, overall, 3 steps forward and only two back :>) The spring lambs here need to stay inside.

  3. SJ O'Hart says:

    Your photos show a harsh landscape, but it’s definitely a beautiful one. Thank you for sharing them! One of these days/decades, I *will* get to Canada. It’s been a lifelong dream.

    • Canada is beautiful and diverse…and so are the people. If you were to visit my home and venture out into the street, keeping your eyes and ears open you will swear YOU were still home. In some places our Irish accent is even more pronounced (pun intended) that in Ireland. No kidding!

      • SJ O'Hart says:

        I watched a TV programme once which looked at the inhabitants of (I think) Prince Edward Island – I may be wrong about that – and listening to the people speaking, you’d swear you were in Wexford, where I was born and grew up. The accent has not changed in 150 years. It was quite moving, actually. So, yes! I would love to experience that for real. 😀

        • A lot of people here originally came from Waterford as the Irish boat owners found that a stop there would land them with strong, young Irish lads eager for work. As noted in my little ditty, though, once they got their pay and loaded up in St. John’s on the cheap West Indie rum they were unable to afford the passage back and…
          …did I mention that the Barrys were originally from Waterford? Pass the rum please…
          Here’s a quick language lesson:

          • SJ O'Hart says:

            That’s fascinating. The last phrase he mentions is one you’ll hear all over Ireland. Apparently it’s a direct translation from the Irish ‘Cad tar éis a tharla (anois)?’, which is how you have to say ‘What has happened (now)?’ – but it literally means ‘what’s after happening (now). I love Irish. It’s crazy, but beautiful. 🙂

        • Oh, and for a simple concise summary of everything you need to know about Canada, see here:

  4. jennypellett says:

    You must all be very hardy! We are experiencing an unseasonal cold snap right now – temperatures are just below zero with the wind chill bringing things down to around -5 or -6; this time last year we were basking in 20C and eating outside. Snow is forecast for the Easter weekend. We don’t cope well with cold weather here!

  5. Mjollnir says:

    And here’s us in Norway basking in a high pressure area that doesn’t seem to be moving and is sending north winds down over the British Isles where they have weather like yours! Still 9,000 homes cut off in Scotland – glad I moved (sometimes!). 😀

  6. momshieb says:

    Your photos are beautiful and awful, at once. They look remarkably like my part of New England this year! We still have 2-3 feet of snow on our lawn, and no sign of anything even remotely green. Lots of deer at the birdfeeders, lots of owls out hunting in the late afternoons. Everything in natures seems desperate for spring!

  7. mary says:

    I like the coffee cup and candy wrapper blooms:)

  8. Peak growing season in Spain right now before everything stops for the summer (about when you might start thinking about sowing seeds) when it is just too hot to grow anything in Andalucía.

    Those moose are so cute. It’s a bit like monkeys wandering up and down Main Street in Gib.

    • They mostly are gentle animals who mind their own business. They can be scary, though, when you come upon them in the road. Three weeks ago I came across another mother/calf pair like these two at around 11PM. …driving along, a bit carefully because I’m used to these critters, when suddenly a moose arse loomed out of the fog. Swerved to the other lane as, thankfully, nothing was oncoming. Stopped. Momma moose just turned and looked at me before moving on…calf was completely oblivious, as children often are.

      • At least that tale had a happy ending. Partner had an encounter with a kangaroo at night in Aus. He wasn’t driving fast as he doesn’t know that you can travel faster than 50mph during the day, and drives even slower at night. But like you say it just came out of nowhere. And being a roo it was bounding around.

        Our monkeys do cross the roads in gib, but like street dogs, they seem to have developed reasonably good traffic skills and sense.

  9. johnlmalone says:

    thdere’s so much to comment on here, Maurice but the thing that stands out for me are the moose sightings: James Tate wrote a wonderful moose poem about not finding moose

  10. johnlmalone says:

    I love the personification: ‘as if sculpted by winter maddened artists’

  11. wisejourney says:

    This winter just doesn’t seem to want to say bye bye does it…. I think my tulips may not have weathered this rough March …..so may nit be there for me to see when I am back.

  12. hickson1 says:

    Hi Maurice! thanks for following my blog – how beautiful Newfoundland looks through your eyes and your words! Enjoy the weekend!

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