Twin springs rushing in…

…to two cities. Nothing Dickensian, though. Our trip to San Francisco a few weeks ago was a delight for many reasons. A particular joy was the chance to experience spring a good month earlier than it arrives up here in Alberta. In fact, it feels like we’ve had two springs, or at least an extended new growth season. San Francisco, combined with our recent prairie and foothills jaunts, has us bursting with energy and optimism.

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Extravagant Calgary blossom

Along the river, over the hills, in the ground, in the sky, spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm, new life, new beauty, unfolding, unrolling in glorious exuberant extravagance, new birds in their nests, new winged creatures in the air, and new leaves, new flowers, spreading, shining, rejoicing everywhere.

From John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra, and it seems to me Muir expressed the vitality of spring better than most! Oh yes, how lucky we were to experience this season in two places.

DSCN6548The late March warmth in California was wonderful. To be able to stroll (clamber and climb?) through the SF city neighbourhoods bathed in bright sunshine, to bask in the light and inhale the early flowers, blossoms and fresh green on the trees was enough to tempt one to think “Oh, we could live here…” Who wouldn’t give it at least a little thought, even if only as a passing fancy? It’s part of the fun in travel and exploring less familiar places.

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Clamber and climb

The old buildings are quite distinctive in many of the longer established areas up on the hills. The look and feel is very particular, and far removed from the relative modernity of Calgary. There are smallish pockets of early twentieth architecture to be found in Calgary, mostly charming saltbox bungalows, but nothing like the tall buildings we saw in SF. San Francisco and Calgary are young, both in terms of average age of population, and compared to the old, long established European cities familiar to us from our previous travels and time before moving west. Great though the grand European cities are, I enjoy the energy to be found in each of these younger cities, especially in springtime!

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Lovely building

Well, we couldn’t live in San Francisco, mainly for financial reasons, the time and distance to the nearest ski hills, and the fact that my little old legs might wear out with the urban hiking. However, being a visitor allows for enchantment and imaginings, the fun of pondering the possibilities and enjoying a different city through the eyes of an outsider. It’s harder to take somewhere for granted when you visit infrequently, and fond memories are renewed, and new ones made each time.

DSCN6578A San Francisco spring is quite beautiful, especially if you’ve come from the semi arid Canadian foothills, where you know the arrival of spring on the calendar is one thing, and the actual arrival something much later! That said, winter was short this year, and temperatures in southern Alberta oddly mild, with many high teen and even mid 20s centigrade values recorded from February onwards. This has given us an earlyish spring bloom in Calgary (and farming fears for the coming months, but maybe this is the new normal) with leaves, blossoms, birds and bugs springing forth with great vigour. Perhaps the right rains will come, this summer won’t be the hottest on record, and we will all enjoy seasons behaving like seasons? Spring, our two springs this year, can only have us hoping…

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Calgary blossom

Thanks for reading, please feel free to share a story or leave a comment, and have a great weekend! (The close up Calgary blossom pictures were taken with my phone on my walk home from work earlier this week – if you live in Calgary, and were concerned about a plaid clad gentleman stopping and not so surreptitiously taking photos of your trees, apologies, it was me, and I felt too foolish to knock and ask for permission…)

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Two springs, two places, both lovely, so no complaints…


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Published by

plaidcamper

I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

20 thoughts on “Twin springs rushing in…”

  1. How great to have 2 Springs in one year. Loved your photos. Give me the country anytime, have never wanted to live in the big city. Just nice to visit a city once in awhile. Glad you are so enthralled with your travels and Spring. Makes life so enjoyable when one is enthused about life. Have a great weekend.

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    1. I enjoy the contrast between city and country. The older I get, the less enthralled I am with aspects of city life. Calgary still has a small town feel compared to other cities I’ve lived in, and the proximity to the mountains and prairies makes for great trips out!
      Thanks, and I hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend!

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  2. I have never been to San Francisco. Can’t say I’ve ever fancied the thought, but I am guessing that you probably realized that. I do love the shot of the bridge through the trees and across the water on the bluer sky looking picture. Amazing shots (and as always-the read). Have a great weekend.

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    1. I think SF has challenges as far as living there goes (like many large cities), but it is a wonderful place to visit – lovely city views, marine views, and ever changing, practically unpredictable weather keeps it interesting – you’d enjoy it as a photographer!
      I hope you’ve had a great weekend!

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  3. Thanks for capturing what is wonderful about visiting a new place with your perfect description – “being a visitor allows for enchantment and imaginings, the fun of pondering the possibilities.” Beautiful photographs and I enjoyed your tale of two springs!

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  4. Thank you for your kind words – very happy you enjoyed this one. We seem to have gone from spring into full summer the last day or two, so spring was rather short…although, whisper it, snow is always a possibility here in any month!
    I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!

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  5. Beautiful spring photos from SF and from home. I, too, have always enjoyed an early spring visit to points farther south, as if such a visit and its beauties strenghtened our faith in the turning of seasons and we could all sing of resurgent nature like Muir did, if only in spirit.

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  6. Thanks, Walt. I guess I could further prolong spring by looking up in the mountains, as Muir did, into June here. That fresh green growth doesn’t get old. Muir’s enthusiasm lifts the spirits – no use by date on his writings. Old school appeal…
    I hope your break was all you wished for!

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  7. Spring is such a bursting and exuberant time, and to have two springs would be uber! As one who was lucky enough to join you and Mrs. PC in San Francisco, I will never forget how delighted you both were at the neon yellow oxalis blossoms and hillsides. Your joy at the warmth and beauty of spring was contagious. 🙂

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