It feels funny, because in some ways, it feels like Spring never really left.
There is something magical about Spring on the Prairies. If you've ever survived a winter in Manitoba, you know what I mean. When you experience one of the first warm days in March - the kind when you turn your face to the sun and it actually warms you from the inside, when you're sure you can see the snow evaporating and you can hear the drip - drops of water from your roof - it's amazing. I swear you can hear the entire city breathing a collective sigh of relief. It's truly beautiful. No, not the dirty gravel and salt on the roads, or the blackened mounds of snow left on the curb. The beauty is in the expectation that something good is coming. That change is about to take shape. That green grass will sprout again and you are a survivor.
Here on the Coast, the arrival of Spring is much more subtle. The air is warmer. The rain lessens. If you didn't pay attention, you might miss the transformation. Except for one glorious thing. Blossoms. Within the first week of March we were enjoying glimpses of color from crocuses, daffodils and tulips. By last week, we were stepping into the beginning of the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms. The color and vibrancy and the smell - oh the smell of these things of beauty is enough to remind you that yes, Spring is indeed here.
Last Saturday we went for a drive to spend the day at Stanley Park. We made sure we stopped to smell the flowers along the way....
When we got to Stanley Park, we parked at our favorite spot near "Second Beach". We had picked up some sandwiches for lunch, so we began by hunting for a good picnic spot. Mike felt confident in his navigational skills, so he led us on a jaunt around "Lost Lagoon". On the walk we spotted a Heron stopping for a rest. Can you see him?
After a little scenic stroll around the Lagoon, Mike found us a little dock that jutted out from the trail. We laid down our blanket, started to eat, and soon we were greeted by these beautiful swans. They swam right up to us, posed for a picture, and then swam gracefully away.
As we were walking to the lunch spot, we had noticed some Raccoons (or "Coonies" as Ellie calls them) near the water. After lunch as we walked along the path, they came right out onto the path for a "meet and greet"with the Penner Paparazzi.
As we turned onto a trail to lead us back to "Second Beach" we met up with a Vancouver City Police Officer from the Equine unit. Horses are used to patrol the park every day, and also provide crowd control at big events in the downtown. She was wonderfully friendly and stopped to chat with us for awhile.
I still can't get over the amazing trunks of the trees in the old growth forests here. It truly is an awesome thing to have such an immense and magnificent green space protected, preserved, and maintained in the heart of such a huge city. Thanks, Lord Stanley.
Mike noticed these two trees and stopped to draw our attention to them. He said it looks like an old tree has put his arm around a young, fledgling one and is saying,
"This way, Little One. I'll show you the way."
The colors here were so striking.
I love the image of new growth coming from and growing over what is old and dead.
It gives me hope.
After our walk we stopped to explore the shore awhile and then played at the playground. It was a special kind of day - as it was exactly a year earlier that we had been at Stanley Park together for the first time imagining and considering what a year in Vancouver would be like for our family. We had just finished 3 months apart, and were on the cusp of another 3 with Mike in a different city. In some ways that seems like so long ago, and in other ways, it seems like yesterday.
One thing is sure - it's good to be together.