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Through My Lens: Daffodils

Is this not the wettest, coldest spring ever?

I know, I know. I have no right to complain considering how many parts of the country are experiencing their longest winter in decades. Southern Ontario is in the grips of an ice storm as we speak, Edmonton has broken a 44-year record with 167 consecutive overnight lows below 0 °C, and Calgary’s forecast is for 10 to 20 centimetres of snow.

I have absolutely no right to complain.

And yet, I am. See the dark clouds in this photo? That’s what the skies in Vancouver have looked like for the better part of this winter and our oh-so-cold spring.

I’m posting this photo because these daffodils have been the one bright spot for me this spring. They appeared about a month ago along the seawall in English Bay, a new addition courtesy the Vancouver Parks Board. I love that they were planted in the middle of the grass, rather than set off in some flower bed somewhere.

Nothing says April like a crowd of daffodils.

Except in Canada, I suppose, where nothing says April like one last blast of winter.

Canada 150: Tr’ochëk

Here is one last photo from North of 60. This is fireweed, the official flower of Yukon. It takes its name from the fact that it is one of the first plants to grow after a forest fire.

I took this photo at Tr’ochëk, a former settlement of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. It’s also known as Moosehide. Located about 5 km down the Yukon River from Dawson City, the settlement was abandoned in the 1960s after its only school was closed. Today, it is an important gathering place and a seasonal fishing camp for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

It’s the last day of the most miserable month of the year! When I woke up this morning to yet another torrent of rain, all I could think was, “It’s the last day of November. Tomorrow, I will feel so much better.”

And so, to celebrate, here is one last photo from Provence. This is the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. It’s a Cistercian abbey not far from Gordes and was founded in the twelfth century.

It’s quite possible you’ve seen a photo or two of this abbey before as it’s one of those scenes of Provence that is on all the postcards, except that the photos in the postcards are all taken when the lavender is in full bloom. (That’s what those long rows of plants are in front of the abbey.) The monks sell that lavender and raise honey bees to support themselves.

We didn’t get to see the inside of this abbey or its cloisters (and you all know how much I love cloisters) because it’s a working abbey. Admittance is only with a tour and we showed up at the wrong time. No matter, as I always like to leave something to do for a return visit. And so, this abbey will be top of my list on my return visit to Provence.

Which will be when the lavender is in full bloom.

Through My Lens: Water Lily

Water Lily

I took this photo of a water lily last weekend while walking around Stanley Park’s Beaver Lake with some friends.

As beautiful as they are, water lilies are threatening the lake’s biodiversity. Beaver Lake is slowing filling in with sediment, thanks in no small part to the fast-growing invasive species. Plans to dredge the lake are in the works.

Through My Lens: Vancouver in February

Purple Crocuses

I feel a bit cruel posting this photo, but, well, it does reflect the reality of what it’s like to live in Vancouver.

Vancouver in February = crocuses.

I feel cruel because my friends in Halifax and Boston are struggling to keep up with all the snow shovelling and my friends in Toronto and New York are facing endless days of sub-Arctic temperatures ― all while Vancouver is experiencing a non-winter.

And now, on top of all that, we get an early spring.

I saw daffodils in bloom in Stanley Park on New Year’s Day. The snow drops made their first appearance about ten days later. The crocuses have been up for weeks, and I saw the first cherry blossoms on February 11 ― about two weeks earlier than most years ― and they’re now in full bloom. Last weekend I even saw a flowering rhododendron.

And all this past week I’ve noticed the magnolia trees are starting to blossom. I have never seen magnolia flowers appear so early ― the trees typically bloom in April.

It doesn’t seem fair, given the winter the rest of the continent is having (and it definitely doesn’t seem Canadian).

But, hey, whoever said life is fair?

Someone has to live in Vancouver. Might as well be me.

Through My Lens: Nitobe Memorial Garden

Nitobe Memorial Garden

I took this photo last Friday in the beautiful Nitobe Memorial Garden. This garden is located at the opposite corner of the UBC campus from my office ― which makes for a nice walk when I’m on my lunch break. As I’ve noted before, I think UBC is a beautiful campus. The Nitobe Memorial Garden only reaffirms my belief.

Through My Lens: Cherry Blossom Time

Vancouver has almost 40,000 cherry trees that burst into bloom every March and April. It’s my favourite time of year.

Through My Lens: Vancouver in Spring

Spring is Vancouver’s longest season. It’s always a bit of a shock to me when I see the first crocuses (I took this photo yesterday), but summer temperatures rarely arrive before the end of June.