Thursday, 26 May 2011

The shortest season

Two weeks ago, it felt like winter does in Victoria: cold, damp, temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Along the Ottawa River Parkway, you could only see the new green fringing the branches of the trees if the sun shone a certain way.

Last week, I saw my first red-winged blackbird of the year. On the bus, a woman tucked partially opened lilac blossoms into the ponytail of her young daughter. By the end of the week, the I got a brief whiff of lilac blowing in through the bus windows, and looking out across the river to the province of Quebec, noticed that the white and silver slivers lining the opposite bank were now chartreuse. Further beyond, the Gatineau hills were banded in alternating lime and hunter green. Vivaldi was streaming in through my ear-buds. (No, not that one. This one):

The Victoria Day weekend came, which is the first weekend when Ottawans can safely put out their bedding plants. Thousands ignore this fact, to their detriment and disappointment. Black-thumbed persons such as myself spent the weekend ferrying the winter clothes into the basement and retrieving summer-weight cottons from bins.

When I stepped out onto the pavement last Tuesday, the spring green had vanished, replaced already by the colour of an Ottawan summer which can best be described green. The air is heavy with moisture and the now inescapable stench of lilac. So begins the four-month summer, to be followed by three weeks of autumn, six months of winter and (if we're paying attention) two weeks of spring.


Crosby Kenyon said...

Still, the canvas continues to come alive.

Rob said...

Lovely post. And I hadn't known that Vivaldi before.