The Newness of Spring is Here

Nature is springing to life. I’m not surprised, but this year there seems more to it for me. It’s even emotional.


This year’s pictorial essay focusses on the early signs of Spring. I love to see the rebirth of nature. It’s all quite miraculous.


I hope we have more Spring showers this year. In the Bow Valley, we call them rain storms, because the ‘showers’ are often close to horizontal.


I also hope that the interior of BC gets more rain this Spring than in the last couple of years, so I’m not faced with a wall of smoke every time I step outside during the summer.

 

Cottonwood Poplar Catkins

Cottonwood Poplar seed pods are called catkins. This tree’s catkins dropped from tree buds in jut a few days. The last and I hope final snow of the year added a nice touch to the image by capping each catkin with a white crown.


When I started post processing this image I saw the full beauty of those catkins. I’ve never noticed how delicate they looked and had certainly never seen those little red berries. When these turn into seed pods and start blowing in the wind with little parachutes, they lose some of their attractiveness.



Balsam Poplar Catkins

These Balsam Poplar catkins look a bit different from those of the Cottonwood Poplar. Although the Cottonwood catkins show a bit of red colour, these display a shocking red early on, but then look much like the Cottonwood ones after a few days.


Those buds you see were oozing with sap. That sap is what people used to make medicinal salve. This tree’s other name is Balm of Gilead.


Fascinating stuff that I previously knew nothing about.



The common Crocus. Common, but beautiful.

Here in Cochrane, we have some valley slopes where the wild flora is still natural, some being up to 9000 years old. It is on these hillsides that crocuses thrive. This time of the year is always a treat for me to see these little, fragile plants erupt with their beauty.



This Moss Phlox in the lower left makes attractive ground cover

The name of this white flowering plant was illusive. Thankfully, a friend of mine was able to identify it. This is another plant that lives on that 9000 year old hillside I mentioned before.



Cotoneaster buds and last year's fruit.

When the snow in our backyard finally melted for good, I stepped into the garden and noticed the new life there. The Cotoneasters showed their new buds after only a few warm days.


Arrival of the rhubarb.

Last year our neighbours gave us some rhubarb and my wife built a strawberry-rhubarb pie. She then finished off the gift with many jars of rhubarb-strawberry jam.


When we saw the plant pushing up into the warmth of these Spring days, I wanted to capture the birth of the plant that will be huge by the middle of June. I can already taste the pie.


A male, common merganser, preening in a pond near our home

This image shows why the good wildlife photographers have long, large lenses. This handsome looking chap (the duck - not me) had worked out that he was going to stay 80 yards from me, no matter what. I moved around the pond to get closer, but he had me in his sights and 80 yards was my limit. Nevertheless, this was a neat moment.

We have more of these mergansers (male and female) than I've ever seen around here before. Some folk are telling me that I don't get out enough, because they are, indeed, common.

 

Living in the shadow of the Rockies, I'm always amazed how quickly I change from wearing my heavy winter coats along with tuque and gloves, to the light clothing of summer. That is what has happened here over the last two weeks and I'm grateful. Shorts weather can't be far off.





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