Spring Signs

It seems growth and change are afoot in almost every way imaginable.

Last night, the province in which I live held a remarkable election, with results that have transformed the political landscape here – and certainly made history. A blast of fresh Spring air in this place.

I’ve been back for a couple of weeks from Vienna, recovered from the jet lag and hit the ground running; digging into a big new project that has me very excited: York:Moments. A project that revolves around reclaiming the history of a place and a neighbourhood, gathering stories and memories with a community. A new life of sorts for streets and empty spaces that allow them in some small way to live again through images and (re)tellings … making a place that no longer exists live again.

These things are about potential, about working and building new things out of the old, and saving what’s precious in one way or another … just like the birds do each year:


Here, a nest within a nest. A bird decided that one of my nest sculptures would be a good spot to build a new home, perhaps.

It remains to be seen what will come of these various activities – for me and for the birds.

But I do know that right now, starting new things and seeing change unfold is exactly what has to happen. It’s Spring (even if the snow today would have us believe otherwise).



There are so many moving targets right now.

Everything’s in flux.

Everything’s changing, so fast. Blink and you miss it.

The earth can’t decide if it’s holding it’s breath and waiting, or running on ahead in a rush; sometimes both in the same day.

I was out for a long walk a week or so ago, and the familiar landscape of very early spring captivated me as it always does: lines and planes and subtle shifting colours.

Hints of things to come, traces of change, shifts below the surface.

7879-river-2 7881-river-4 7878-river-3 7872-river-1 7876-river-5

… And just as quickly:  all of this river ice, altered completely with a (too short) warm spell, that sudden speeding-up of transformation that erases what was a gradual reinvention, solid to liquid.

There’s still ice in the valley, but it’s been subdued – it’s sun-worn now, rounded edges and dramatic cracks turned to soft grooves in what’s left – despite the renewed chill in the air.

Blink and you miss it. It’s the Prairies, it’s always been that way.

Birds, Sunshine, Sunday

Had a lovely opportunity to take a break and go for a long walk this past Sunday. So good to carve out that down time, and breathe in the first small glimmerings of Spring and sunshine. Left me feeling a little punch-drunk from the sudden renewal all around me.

One of my favourite places in the river valley is a little spot I have christened ‘Chickadee Lane’ … for obvious reasons (my thanks to John for shooting these):

photo copyright 2014 John Waldron
photo copyright 2014 John Waldron
photo copyright 2014 John Waldron


photo copyright 2014 John Waldron

I am really quite smitten with these little creatures. I’d have no problem spending an entire day watching them, and enticing them to closer contact with seeds.

I have another love of the avian persuasion as well … and these beautiful animals were in no short supply on the afternoon of our walk either, much to my delight.

Crows fascinate me. Such intelligent creatures, and I find them really elegant and beautiful as well.

Why, yes, I AM beautiful … now that you mention it …
Telling the world who’s boss …
The start of a nest – this is going to be quite the structure once it’s done!
What ARE you looking at?

This particular afternoon, there were so many crows in the valley, it was quite raucous at times. It was all about pairing off, and new nests, and who was hanging out too close to someone else’s turf.  And many of them were keenly aware of the camera, and of being watched. There was one group of about 7 crows on a single tree – likely unmated juveniles – that categorically refused to let me get one shot of them all together.  Quite coy, that lot … but others were more than content to be photographed, and seemed on occasion to be posing for me.  The bird in the last image of the set above was very interested in everything I was doing – and became quite preoccupied with watching me – so much so that I as able to get that shot of him sizing me up.

Every thing seemed to hum that afternoon – a flurry of movement and noise from all sorts of animals, warm sun, blue sky. The start of Spring and  activity, after a long. cold hiatus. Buds starting to pop on poplar and willow, fuzzy heads insisting that it’s really time, NOW.  As though the land itself heaved a great sigh of relief, and began a slow catlike stretch in the warm afternoon sun.

A welcoming.


It feels too good to be true, even though every cell in my body wants it to be so.

There’s been a rapid – and quite remarkable – change in the weather here the last few days, and (dare I say the ‘S’ word …) it feels like the first glimmers of Spring.

IMG_6419The warm days and sunshine have people smiling, climbing out of layers of clothing, anticipating more. Hungry for sun that actually heats the flesh.

The birds too. So much birdsong in the morning street, and the business of building and courting has begun in earnest; seemingly overnight, a switch has been flicked, and we all have permission to get on with the business of living in other ways than the stasis that months of cold bring.


And there are little moments of wonder built into this abrupt transition, everywhere.

Although it’s out of necessity I have spent as much time looking down at the ice-covered pavement than looking up at the brilliant blue sky these past few days, I’m not willing to (completely) curse the ice for its ability to send my feet flying in all directions at a moment’s notice. There’s some lovely stuff underfoot, between me and the battered and frost-heaved sidewalks.


Self-renewing sculptures pocketed the pavement this morning, and had me stopping to get some quick shots before they disappeared under the sun’s influence, at least for a few hours.


It’s all about surfaces just now – and what’s under them. Waiting to see the light of day. Again.