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Couldn’t We Enjoy Winter a Little Longer?

Happy Spring!

After a long, wet winter, spring’s light and warmth are a welcome relief. But, for me, it’s also a mixed blessing. A stirring time of year when the earth’s renewal is no longer a mere promise but something tangible.

There’s a different cast of light now. That patina of green you see around the trees and brush is a sign that the sap is stirring, that the weather is warming. We’re finally emerging from the darkness and into the warmth and light. The sun still works, and the earth rejuvenates.

Has spring come too soon? I’m just finding comfort in the darkness of winter, the sleepy afternoons, the season of soups and stews. Already I miss the snow storms, downpours, harsh cold and power outages that drove us indoors. We found warmth by building fires and searching winter boxes for sweaters and extra blankets. And no sooner have we begun to enjoy the indoors than it’s time to go outside again!

Time’s passing too fast!

Couldn’t we enjoy winter a little longer? It feels as if I haven’t had enough sleep. Time’s passing too fast!

Last Friday, as Jen and I drove along Spalding Road and up Canal Road, the “traffic” was notable. The southbound cars we passed were arriving on a Friday afternoon ferry, city-dwellers looking for an early Spring respite. They were headed for the campgrounds, Air BnBs or the turn-off to Poet’s Cove. The Tru Value that day was busy; the grassy area at the Driftwood was full of happy kids and parents in light jackets, holding ice cream cones from the Vanilla Leaf. It was spring before the equinox! The sun was out, and the air was warm.

At Medicine Beach, we gathered to hand off our loaves of Happy Monk bread, greet customers, having energetic chats. We felt lifted by the weather; the smiles were on our faces. But the parking lot was busier than it had been in a long while. Visitors looking for the pulse of Pender Island were checking out Truss Farm Food, the Liquor Store and Slow Coast. Too crowded, I thought, and this was echoed by a few of the locals.

The things we know as Pender Islanders

Quiet parking lots aren’t so great for business. Still, for some Pender residents, they’re lovely, especially in the early spring days.

The arrival of last week’s Spring visitors, a mere trickle compared to the waves in the Summer, was also a time of rediscovery. The things we know as Pender Islanders, the farmlands, the trails, and the gathering places, are bathed in a different light, seen for the first time by the visitors. We see them, too; these landmarks are at once familiar and new.

It’s a fertile moment, standing at the cusp of this intersection of Spring light and Winter Darkness. There is beauty on each side, something lyrical and heart-warming. And in these early days of spring, I’m reluctant to let winter go!

These are subtle thoughts that I find hard to convey. But Emily Dickinson, the great 19th-century American poet, sees spring’s cast of light, too, and understands the mix of emotions it evokes. This poem seems to herald then mourn the rare and precious light as spring begins.

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886 1

 Such strange language — “as Horizons step/Or Noons report away,” and “Without the Formula of sound” — brushes against the essence of spring but doesn’t quite grasp it, I think. And in that, it captures the potent blend of emotions we might feel at this time.

I feel the “loss” but, as always, will turn towards the colour and light “that Science cannot overtake/ But human nature feels.”


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#dylanthomas #poetsofinstagram #poetrylovers #poetryisnotdead #poetryofinstagram #poets #poetryislife #poetrylove #poetrydaily #poetryworld #poetryinstagram #bakerpoets #poetryforbakers #southpenderisland #penderisland

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  1. Like many of Dickinson’s poems, this one lacks a title

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