Signs of spring (and a little rant)

The rant comes at the end. It’s not much of a rant, but it is a bit incoherent, so there’s that. Enjoy it if you get down to that part.

We’ve been looking for signs of spring this side of the Rockies. So far, not too much success. There are one or two hints of green beginning to appear on trees and shrubs, a teasing glimpse of what’s to happen (soon, please!)

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Tuesday morning walk to work

My morning walk to work on Monday was through sleety rain, and that wasn’t much fun. It was more fun than the Tuesday morning walk through wet snow. Snow that fell on and off throughout the day. It settled for a few hours, but I guess solace could be found in that it mostly melted away by early evening. That thaw, the suggestion of green, and a rising river level is about it for spring to date. Yes, the daytime temperatures are above freezing, but not significantly so.

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“Spring” as seen from the train, Tuesday morning.

What’s with the complaining PlaidCamper? Don’t you like winter? Yes, but not when May is here on Monday, and not after our recent west coast trips – we were (are?) spoiled by those warmer, sometimes wetter, but oh so colourful and verdant days…

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Vancouver, six days earlier…(I spy green)

A few days in Vancouver last week, at a conference and “working” hard on the coast. The theme was nature and outdoor education. I had to smile at us all shut in a windowless, air conditioned hotel events room, earnestly discussing the importance of being outdoors in green spaces, and the benefits of connecting to nature. To be fair, many of the sessions were outside and hands on. Just as well, because they weren’t likely to contain all those tree huggers in a large room with Stanley Park only a short walk away.

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Hugged this one

After a morning of fine speeches, impassioned presentations, and information overload, we went on a guided walk through Stanley Park, looking for trees to hug.

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I was working, honest

Vancouver has a lovely setting, on the water, and surrounded by forests and coastal mountains. Stanley Park is an urban jewel, with pockets that feel wild in between more traditional city park patches. Our guide pointed out many restoration projects centred on the Lost Lagoon, and the balance park officials are trying to achieve between urban dwellers and wild animal inhabitants. Not an easy task, particularly because there’s no overall consensus as to what restoration really means. Restored to pre-nineteenth century habitat? Or even earlier, to before European contact? And how to restore a wilderness that is never in stasis anyway…

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Get me, I live in Stanley Park

It was a wonderful walk, and an example of how a city can aim to be a greener and more pleasant place through thoughtful planning – even if there are no simple solutions. Given that humans are more likely than ever to find themselves living in cities (regardless of whether that is a first choice for many of us) it seems sensible to expect nature to be included as an essential part of urban planning.

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Pleasing

Common sense suggests that we are happier in pleasing and greener environments, and research presented at the conference supported the idea that children (and everyone else?) are more successful in their learning and in themselves when they have ready access to green spaces for play and learning. Simple enough – pleasant environments promote positive physical and mental health. Have we really forgotten that so easily and in a few generations? Are new roads, malls and parking lots more important than play spaces and green places for city dwellers? Dollars before deeper contentment? What’s the real and necessary investment here?DSCF4816

Oh, those recent announcements – regarding the future status of protected wilderness spaces south of the border – have me wondering if (so called) leaders can honestly say they care about or are planning for the longer term health of the planet, or the health of future citizens. I don’t know, is extract, extract, extract, and burn, burn, burn, really the best path forward? Can we talk about a healthy society and a vibrant economy when the air is unbreathable and water is undrinkable? Should we drink the bad water through a straw made from dollar bills and call ourselves wealthy and wise?

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Calming

I think I’d best stop now, take a deep breath (while we still can) and wish you all a wonderful weekend! I’ll be out looking for signs of spring and calming myself down. I know, it wasn’t much of a rant, but I feel better for it…

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Also calming (a very good west coast pale ale – had a second pint, just to be sure…)

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

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...

12 thoughts on “Signs of spring (and a little rant)”

  1. It’s a tough transition to frolic among blooming trees and green grass, then go back to snow-covered ground and a walk in sleety rain. Spring has a way of teasing with us, and travel can do it too. Nice to be walking though, and breathing….best wishes, PC, for a sweet weekend ahead.

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  2. I get it , we are all waiting for spring’s arrival which does seem painfully slow this year. Nice photos, promises of what is to come. I will be listening to the hockey game tonight. Enjoy the weekend!

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  3. Really enjoyed this, PC– yeah spring is coming along, even though it’s been frustratingly slow in some regions. Again, I’m envious that you are able, as an educator, to be involved with planning programs that include the natural environment as a key element. Not the case down here in TrumpLand where resource extraction and deregulation seem to matter more than human and environmental health. Canada seems more progressive than the U.S. in matters such as this. It’s been decades since we’ve seen “nature studies” in American education although, admittedly, other aspects of science, math, and civics have come a long way since that time.

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    1. Thanks, Walt! Some days, it’s only the outdoor elements of the curriculum that keep me in the teaching game…too many initiatives lacking in initiative or sense. To be fair, the students are the best reason to keep teaching.
      Yeah, living in Trumpland must be exhausting on so many levels. It’ll pass eventually, but the mess left behind? Oh dear.
      I hope your week is going well!

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  4. Enjoyed the beautiful signs of spring from Vancouver and the rant. Unfortunately, there may be a need for many more west coast pale ales and calming walks in nature during the next four years. Enjoy your weekend and I hope the sunshine and warmer weather arrives soon!

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    1. Thanks Wayne. I think many of us have lives so insulated from real wilderness or natural beauty, we think of nature as something “other” when we are actually under the nature umbrella. If we saw ourselves as being part of the natural world, and not simply extractors, we might care a little more! You’re definitely not insulated! Hope you’re getting chances to be out on the water.

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  5. Vancouver looks wonderful and those signs of Spring so lovely. Your post makes me want to go out and hug a tree. In fact, I just might! Have a wonderful happy weekend.

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