I love this short post by Dave Olsen, our friend out on the east end of Great Slave Lake. You can read it here: April 29th.
I admire this writing, concise and yet so aptly descriptive. I love the aha moment of recognition of a shared experience or feeling, combined with the admiration of seeing that experience described so perfectly. Spare words in exactly the right places – that’s the feeling I get reading this, and often the feeling I get reading poetry. And I am inspired by the sentiment, shared amongst many long time northerners. Dave loves the long northern winter and tells us exactly why. I confess to being not quite there yet – I love PARTS of winter for sure, but I am most happy when its gone for a while, and we enjoy again the open water, the tirelessly long daylight, and the life that comes back to the land – especially the birds. The great birds have been migrating past – we’ve seen swans, sandhill cranes and snow geese. The other day I had a bike ride on the ice road with a pair of eagles swooping around me. Now the seagulls are everywhere – each small rock has a pair settling into nesting and raising young, and we have ducks swimming around our floating houseboat – all manner of ducks. The Arctic terns are back too – they are a rather vicious bird if you get too close, and they have a rough cry, but they are beautiful and graceful, with their sleek black heads, and small white hurtling bodies. I love that they fly all the way from the Antarctic every year – can you imagine what they must see? The frogs in the marsh are singing with the joy of spring as well. I’ve even seen a couple fish swimming in the open water along the shores. And the marsh last week was full of pussy willows, a giant fuzzy forest of them, each bush covered with little upright grey bulbs on every tip – like a surreal forest with lights. This week they are gone as they begin to transform themselves into leaves. It’s such an exciting time. Goodbye winter.