When I step out of the house this morning I sensed the faint smell of spring: damp, dirty decay and wet lawn. It got me thinking about seasons and signs of spring.
Unlike my birth place, the Maritimes, Edmonton doesn’t really have four seasons. Everything is split up in two: cold and not cold. We don’t get that lovely long transition from winter into summer where trees slowly start to bud and crocuses weasel their way out of the damp earth. Nor do we get the long transition from summer into winter where leaves slowly change their green to brilliant hues of red, orange and gold then gently stumble to the ground where they start the long, slow process of decaying before the winter weather hits.
Instead, we get cold until one day it’s suddenly warm, the snow has suddenly disappeared and plant life is suddenly green and growing. At the end of the warm season, it just suddenly turns into winter. The leaves turn a half-assed attempt at yellow which, for a few days, looks quite lovely, but then a cold snap and wind come through and kicks the leaves to the ground, where they freeze dry during the bitter cold nights.
Despite the quick transitions, there are a few signs of spring in this adopted home of mine. For starters, the longer days mean that I have to close my blind so that the blaring sun that beats down on my south facing bedroom window doesn’t turn my room into a sauna. The giant puddle/icy patch in front of my apartment, which is normally created by the slowly melting snow getting damned off by the thick packed down snow pressed up against the curb, suddenly disappears. The dust and dirt from the remainders of the sand that was spread to make driving easier during the snowy season starts to waft into the air every time a car drives by or the wind blows. And, pot holes the size of small cars appear from under the 6 inch thick packed snow used to cover the side streets.
These may not be the most romantic signs of spring; they may not illicit thoughts of life being renewed, of long sunny days with the scent of lilacs roaming the streets and the sounds of song birds at your window. These may not be my idea of a joyous heralding of the new season. These may not making you want to pack your things and move to Edmonton. But, these are our signs of spring and, quite frankly, after a brutal Edmonton winter, I’ll take what I can get!