Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs of spring

The cool and rainy weather is continuing and last night there were high winds blowing cold from the southeast. Today the kids and I went for a walk around the lake, looking at the way that the forest was coming back to life. The ferns are still flat on the ground, and no fiddleheads have started to emerge yet, but the mosses are verdant and the rain forest is the most vivid shade of green. When a little weak sunlight seeps through the clouds, the yellows and greens and blues come alive, maples covered in moss, goats-beard hanging off the hemlocks and sitka spruce.

The mosqutos are out now, swarming around the water, and doing well with no swallows here yet, and no bats around either. There were buffleheads and scaups on the lake, Canada geese padding around on the ice still formed around the edges of the water and flocks of kinglets and chickadees staking out territory.

In the marshes, the skunk cabbage - ch'├║ukw' in Skwxwu7mesh - is just starting to come up, not flowering yet, but perhaps it will in a few weeks. No horsetails yet either, but you can feel things wanting to burst free. In traditional Skwxwu7mesh culture, this is considered the time when the winter dances draw to a close, and the longhouses close up. All winter, the energy and life that the earth has ceded is available to spirit dancers in the longhouse, but when the earth reawakens for the spring, that energy is no longer available, and the dances stop until the winter again.

The power is returning to the land.