Monday, March 26, 2007

Signs of Spring
I had a lovely weekend out in the countryside. The sap in the maple trees had started flowing the day we arrived, so at dinner time our hosts shared with us a taste of it (okay, more than a taste!). That felt really special. On Sunday we had pancakes with the first syrup of the season. It was so yummy. The sap was actually flowing so well over the weekend that we could hear the steady and fast drip-drip-drip of it into the collecting buckets.

On the drive down on Friday, we saw geese flying north. Another sure sign of spring.

Out for a walk on Saturday, we could hear rivers of running water beneath the melting snow. We could see the spontaneous spring streams created by the thaw twisting through the forest landscapes, carving out their paths. The ground was soft beneath our feet. Signs of deer were everywhere--tracks, scat, and chewed twigs--as well as evidence of foxes and other animals. There was still lots of snow in places.

Our hosts have a wonderful 200+ foot diameter labyrinth that they have been cultivating with trees and plants for almost ten years. Being quite well sheltered it was still covered with snow; deep snow in places too. As I walked it, I frequently found myself sinking almost knee-deep in snow. The usual 30- to 45-minute walk took a good hour to complete in the snow, and I felt like I had done a good workout at the end of it! A part of the labyrinth is 'pathed' with blackberry bushes. Last year was an incredible year for blackberries and our hosts don't cut the bushes back a lot in the labyrinth since they harvest the berries. Consequently, parts of the path were overgrown with blackberry thorn making the passage difficult and thorny. Between the snow, the thorns, and other obstacles, it was a very different experience from any other labyrinth meditation I have done.

Other signs of spring I've been observing closer to home. The birds in my neighbourhood have been flying around with strands of grass and other soft things to make their nests with; and my cats have been chasing spiders and ants. It's wonderful.

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