Even now there are signals of spring round about us— even now while its so chilly in the morning, the fog is thick and the ships’ whistles are sounding all day as they move cautiously in the severely limited visibility.
Though its only late January, the sun is setting noticeably later, affording us more daylight and signalling to shrubs and bulbs and birds that spring is on its way. We could of course, still have some very cold weather ahead, but the bulbs are bravely pushing up through the ground in the certainty of spring’s arrival. The snowdrops and crocuses are even beginning to bloom in sheltered spots.
Much to my delight yesterday, I came across a small cluster of miniature irises glowing in the sunshine— cerulean blue with golden centres— glistening with droplets of moisture from the temporarily vanished fog.
The broom that lines the old road along which we walked this morning was glowing gold, the same rich yellow that the blooms of June display.
But this is mid January.
Rather than June’s golden bloom this was winter’s answer to springtime vibrance— thick gold lichens along the length of the dead grey broom twigs. Winter life. Life in a different mode.
These branches won’t bloom next spring. They’ve spent themselves already. But their winter glory is beautiful all the same.
But its not simply the sight of this surprising beauty. Its also the thought it stirs in me— the thought that this brilliance doesn’t emerge from the broom itself, but rather is a gift, covering its dead twigs. It is clothed in a glory that’s given.
A good reminder. Another glimpse of grace amidst the ordinary meanderings of the day.
On Thursday night there was more rain in 12 hours than I recall since I had a rain gauge. The Gulf Islands are in a ‘rain shadow’ on the east side of Vancouver Island, but that ‘shadow’ didn’t mitigate the amount of rain that fell overnight. 26 mm. The wind also buffeted the house with astounding force as the gale rose and receded. In the morning the wind had veered to the Southwest as predicted, still swirling in the treetops and bringing repeated rain showers, and even periods of heavy rain. But in between— oh my goodness! Is there anything more magnificent than the sun slanting through the drenched cedars, as they drip and little rivulets forge through the low spots, finding their path to the sea, and the colours are intense as the sun drenches the rain soaked forest.
This photo is a glimpse of one flash of light on the lichens, moss and fern as we navigated our road between rainstorms, stretching our legs and breathing the rich fragrant air.
I’ve always loved the forest. As a child I loved to explore trails in the woods, to build forts, and to take a picnic to a mossy spot and sit in the quiet— sometimes with a friend. The forest has always been a place of wonder and mystery for me.
It remains so— and to me it is most deeply mysterious and wonder-full in the depths of winter when the soaking rain and the January mist and fog moves amidst the trees. The strong shapes are softened and the moss and lichens become almost luminous in the shortened daylight, as though they thrive in the winter, enjoying the relief from the droughts of August.
Some people have told me they find these short darker days with the low hanging cloud wearying. For me, along with the lichen-bearded cedars, soaking their roots in the sodden earth, and the moss that is practically jubilant in its lush growth, this is a happy time of year. It’s the season of rest and replenishment.
I’ll be ready when the exuberance of spring comes, and I’ll be ready to dry out in the summer. But for now, it’s winter, and it is very good.
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day