COLUMN: Awaiting the signs of spring

After a long winter, many are wondering when the cold season will be over

We’ve had a good dose of winter this year and I’ve started to notice people sighing as they zip up their winter coats and pull on their mittens.

We all know that spring is just around the corner but after a lengthy spell of snow, ice and bracing winds the question is, “When will winter be over?”

Many locals have enjoyed a winter of outdoor activities such as skiing, skating or snowshoeing.

Others used the long winter evenings to catch up on indoor projects like quilting or woodworking.

Some of us just hibernate, and wait.

As a child, I clearly remember that first springish day each year when windows were flung open to allow that chilly, violet-laden breeze to waft through the stuffy rooms.

I always knew spring had officially arrived, coming home from school to find the clothesline strung with freshly washed comforters, drapes and blankets.

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My mom delighted in tucking away the winter things around the house, pulling out brightly patterned summer bedspreads, curtains and throw rugs.

It was her way of making the shift from one season to the next and it gave all of us hope for the summer to come.

Along with Mom’s busyness, Dad would begin turning over the garden and I would usually be outside with him, much preferring to get my hands dirty than to be stuck doing the laundry.

I remember how Dad and I would delight in stripping our sweaters off on that first day of lovely, bone-warming sunshine. (a rare occurrence at the rainy coast.)

From Felicia Hemans’ 1823 poem, The Voice of Spring, heralding the approach of the season,

“I come, I come! Ye have called me long;

I come o’er the mountains, with light and song.

Ye may trace my step o’er the waking earth

By the winds which tell of the violet’s birth’

By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,

By the green leaves opening as I pass. “

At this time of the year, it seems like we can almost feel spring as it creeps and crawls towards us.

The winter wind softens and rather than prompting us to button up our coats it entices us outside, towards the garden.

The shift is subtle but watch quietly, you’ll feel it.

If you don’t sense spring’s imminent arrival, pop down to the library and take a look at “Spring, an anthology for the changing seasons,” or for little people who need to know how it all happens, “Spring,” by Stephanie Hedlund and for some fun spring activities, “Fun and Festive Spring Crafts,” by Randel McGee.

If you’re ready to get planting, take in Seedy Saturday, March 23 at the Summerland Alliance Church. Don’t forget your library card.

Caroline McKay will be at the seed exchange table, accepting seed returns for the Library Seed Catalogue and will have some fabulous new books on hand.

Sue Kline is the Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

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