As you know, this blog spans two cultural experiences and today's post is a case in point. As an Australian, I don't think I ever understood the significance of the seasons, particularly Spring, until I moved north. Way north. Of course, we duly noted each season as it came in but, particularly where I grew up in the tropics, and then later where I lived most of my adult life in the sub-tropics, Spring and Autumn were really just formalities - noted by the TV weather person - that were barely distinguishable from Summer for most of their duration.
To make matters worse, because of the southern hemisphere-ish reversal of the seasons, all the wonderful symbols of fertility and life that surround the Christian/Pagan celebrations in the northern hemisphere Spring, like Easter, were lost on us. Instead, any logical connection between eggs, bunnies, and flowers were never made and thus they remained just a quirk of the holiday. We were just grateful if the chocolate Easter eggs didn't melt in our hands too quickly.
However, I have since seen the (northern hemisphere) light. And "Hallelujah!", may I be so bold as to say. Particularly at that moment when you realise the migrating birds are coming back.
Now, one thing to note of Australia is that most of the birds are there pretty much all year round. Of course, there's the odd show-off flock that migrate all the way from Siberia once a year but, on the whole, the cacophony of native bird call and bird life is there for your enjoyment and entertainment all year round.
Not so in Canada. Of course, I shouldn't deny those stalwarts, like our favourites, the ever-cheerful chickadees , that stay all winter and show us, along with the local snowshoe hares that bound drunkenly down the middle of our street in the dead of the night, that life actually does go on for some during winter. However, on the whole, every feathered friend for as far as the eye can see hightails it south, probably to spend the winter months frolicking in the warm waters of some balmy tropical paradise while the rest of us Endure The Winter With Grace (and heated housing). Strangely, their gradual departure is not so noticeable. Eventually, they all slip away and one day you realise that you haven't seen a blue jay or a robin for the longest time. The last to leave though, the Canada geese, signal the close of the year and it's with a pang in the heart that we farewell them on their long journey and bid them a safe return. Hoping it will be soon.
In this last week, along with the gradually melting snow, we've noticed the birds returning. And some mornings, as we walk the dogs on their daily route along the train tracks, I've wanted to compete with the newly arrived robins' calls and sing "The birds are back! The birds are back!" at the top of my lungs. They are the harbingers of better times to come and the reassurance of their lively, light flight overhead, their sweet and various songs, and their many shenanigans as they re-establish lives and territories from the year before fills the heart with daily wonder and gratitude at the seemingly inexorable cycles of life. Without realising it, we rely on them to return to confirm that the mysterious cycles of the planet, of the seasons, of life and living will continue for another year. And thank the Goddess they have.
Welcome back birds.
This shy little thing is my first attempt at these hand sewn birds. I've been meaning to have a go for ages and, in a fit of dog-induced pique last night, I marched downstairs into my workspace looking for something, anything, to bring me back some peace of mind. It is no wonder I grabbed these soothing colours and began the rhythmic task of hand sewing this little creature to bring me, and it, together a piece at a time.
Of course, Spring should truly be a time of celebratory colours so I'll just have to make some more in bright oranges, greens, yellows and reds to demonstrate how I'm truly feeling about the end of winter!