Northern Reflections on the Coming of Spring

[My son Geoff is living north of North Bay, just outside of Cobalt on Gillies Lake. The Spring has just arrived…..]

There is tremendous beauty here, on the shores of Gillies Lake; a certain vibrancy to life as the world has begun to stir and wake from the long (very long) winter slumber. It can be felt in myriad ways. Unlike the south, spring does not creep in upon you here – it explodes with a sudden commanding force. One week, the snows fell, dampening spirits, and burying the world ever deeper in its chilly embrace. The next, the sun had awoken, leaving Jack Frost in the lurch, melting his crystal halls and frozen temples.
With that sudden departure of frost, one’s senses also awaken, or more accurately, expand, since they never really cease. The first wave of real change can be heard, and it is truly wonderful. Stony silence gives way to a veritable symphony, diverse and rich beyond the telling. Bird song fills the air as suddenly as a thought finds voice. Loud and unceasing, it fails to annoy, but rather, it rejuvenates. Soft trills, loud caws, booming cackles, and haunting echoed sighs. How delightful, and oh, how sudden – literally one day was silent, the next filled with a joyous cacophony. Waking each day before the sun to the lonesome, drawn out wail of the loon is uplifting. And of course, the day is book-ended at twilight by that self same call, loudest it seems, when the sun at either its most or least powerful (depending on how you define such an idea). I say haunting, as no call from the Canadian wild can captivate the soul in quite the same manner – fitting that every day is born and dies to that deep and mournful sigh.
Of course, it is not just the birds that delight the auditory nerves. As the shadows lengthen here, and the sun begins to slip towards the Blessed Isles in the West, other, equally joyful creatures lift their voices high into song; amphibian vocals ring out into the growing darkness, lusty after the long, cold grip of winter. In this age of massive and crippling environmental change, it is most definitely music to hear their brave voices, Spring Peepers and other frog species being hit hard as they are by our painful hubris. In the Pit across the laneway, there would seem to be thousands of them, as night after night they give voice to their existence, and sing. I enjoy my twilit walks through the pit best, hearing them close by, with the wail of the loon off in the distance out on the steely waters of the lake. On such walks, nature will often gift me with further joyful tunes – the mewling of wolf cubs, off in the trees, close by, yet hidden from sight. I do not venture close, nature being what it is, and wolves being what they are. But I do enjoy their small cub cries lifted to join the symphony that is created. The wind whistling through the trees, and just last night, the loud booming thunder, yet further voices of the great song.
Yes, I like the birth of spring in this place. It awakens all of the senses, but it awakens the mind first of all.

Geoff Ludkin

Leave a Reply