I usually get very homesick around this time of year; perhaps it’s because Canada doesn’t have a spring – not really – not like the ones I used to know.
In my English hometown, the grass is always green (well, there is enough rain to supply it!) but there are also plenty of daffodils, bluebells and baby animals to symbolize the end of the dark days and the awakening of the light. Mother Nature puts on her proudest display of soft pastel colours and floral scents that (while at odds) both calm and energize the soul and aid humanities deliverance out of hibernation into its own new cycle of bloom. It’s the season of slow Sunday walks, renewed vigor and youthful pleasures – a shared experience that lasts from mid-March to early June.
Canada’s spring, on the other hand, is virtually non-existent. While the buds are blossoming and the lambs are bleating in Herefordshire, the snow is still falling in Ontario.In fact, the snow keeps falling until April (and in the most extreme case I have experienced, late May) therefore exhibiting a bleak landscape that drains energy instead of nurturing it. Dirty grey, lifeless slush melts to reveal the scattered rubbish below, abandoned in the rapid flurry from the previous year. It can be very depressing, especially when you are used to such vitality.
Yet this negligence of spring does not come without a hearty trade off. On the contrary, autumn is a glory to behold. With so many trees comes so many colours, a warming array of golds, oranges, yellows and reds that carpet the ground like the magnificent feathers of some extravagant bird. It’s a comforting feeling that is enjoyed by all whereas English autumns are usually short lived, dark and damp – a precursor to a season that is even darker and damper. And summer of course is no comparison – it feels good not having to question the suns daily appearance. In my pre-expat glory days, summer only existed as a name on a calendar and in the strongest of imaginations.
While summer and winter are at two extremes in Canada, the weather is more moderate and evenly distributed throughout the year in England. While there are positive and negative aspects to both, Mother Nature is wise to have given each country a season of extreme allure. During the long and miserable days of late winter, it’s nice to know that somewhere in the world, there is beauty.