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.
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.