It is evident for a host of reasons that winter is in its final throes. The longer period of light during the day... increasing by three minutes each day, best measures the ebbing of winter's icy grip. The pristine blanket of deep winter snow has been pocked and eroded by the combination of sunlight, wind and the rain of the past week. The magical and exalting morning trill of our male cardinal... who wintered at our feeder winter summons spring to return and his mating ritual to begin. All birds and creatures suddenly become more active in their search for food. Spring is definitely in the air!
As I watched the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games in Sochi, I couldn't help feel my heart swell as I watched the combined athletes of the world and amongst them our Canadian athletes enter for the final gathering of the athletes. The pride that I felt was not a vain pride... the kind that the feeling of nationalism usually translates, but more the kind of pride that a parent has for their child when they have performed their best... and have behaved with humility in the face of winning. It was equally touching to bear witness to the accord and harmony of the athletes together in a space other than their individual fields of competition. It was in those rare and moving moments that we come face to face with the reality... that we can indeed come together as brothers and sisters... and in Peace and Harmony.
In watching these games, I began to understand more fully that in truth that Canadians as a culture are defined by winter. We are forced by geography and climate to endure at least six months of winter... and for the most part do so simply as a matter of fact. But the term endure connotes to bear patiently... but along with this imposed acceptance is a "joie de vivre"- a passionate and proud embracing of the task of facing winter. Over two hundred plus years as an emergent nation... we have learned to do more than survive winter. We go out to it... we work and we play in it and as a result we are defined by it. We are... winter!
The conditions of cold below zero nights and warm, sunny days has launched the sugar maples into their annual production of sugary sap. In woodland maple bushes across these areas activities have swung into the short and eagerly awaited late February and early March weeks of syrup boiling and production. There will be no down time... no sleep... except for the "sweet dreams" and smells of a sugar shack under full steam. It quite simply... for they and myself is pure... March Magic!
Here is the first result of my own spring production. Titled "The Vigil"... it aptly records the Williams sugar house ... located on the Rockport-Escott Road not far from here. I am not at this time really sure whether or not that the shed remains in production... but I couldn't resist recording this quiet pre-run moment.
"How sweet it is..."
"The Vigil" - oil on toned panel 8x10 inches
Despite the opening "watch your glycemic level"... I will be heading out in search of some Grade #1`... fresh from the bush maple syrup for my pancakes and sausages for Sunday breakfast... and for my daily oat meal intake!
Stay tuned!... and Sweet Dreams!...
Good Painting to ALL!!