The pure, sweet promise of spring

Adam Randell
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“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.” - Marty Rubin

Spring is coming; it’s just around the corner. Never mind that I can’t see the beach from the house because of the plowed-up ridges of snow along the road; never mind that drifting snow is still blowing off the tops of buildings, or that potholes everywhere, especially in St. Anthony, are enlarging and reproducing exponentially. The snow will subside and the potholes will be filled…hopefully. 

How do I know its spring? Well, I can feel it in the air; I can smell that pure, sweet promise of budding trees, green grass and awakening flowers in spite of deep snowdrifts and chasing wind; I can see it in the deeper blue of the sky. A sure sign of spring is that the days are lengthening their cords; birds are flitting along the highways, and wild hares, playing tag on the snowbanks, are trading in their white coats for brown. And there are other signs: polar bears trekking across land and sea on their way north; seal pups spawned on the ice; Easter season and the spirit of resurrection life; hockey fans readying themselves to watch the NHL playoffs on 98” high-definition screens, and our daughter Amy bringing her young man home for a visit. All these—in spite of an ice-clogged bay and mountainous ballicatters rimming the coastline—speak persuasively of spring.  

Mark Twain put it very aptly when he said, “Its spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” 

Amy is finished another year at Memorial University and is making plans for the summer. She has a new ‘man’ and, after he drives from the mainland to St. John’s to pick her up, the two of them will make their way north to take in the sights at Ship Cove. St. John’s must enjoy a much milder climate because I think she’s forgotten what it’s like to live in the frozen north in the month of April.

She asks,“Will there be whales? Will there be icebergs? Will we be able to go out in the boat? Will we be able to go trekking over the hills? Will we be able to go long distance running?

Some of her other planned activities are more in keeping with the time of year, although the two of them will need coats, cuffs and scarves to complete the first: “We can enjoy porch sitting (sitting out on the bridge watching the ice melt in the bay), board games and reading if we can’t do anything else.”

Amy’s ‘man’ is from the mainland so I doubt he will have any idea of what to expect. I suggested to Amy that she introduce him to northern Newfoundland in July or August, but she says that’s out of the question owing to her plan to fill up the summer months with more courses. 

The time of year reminds me of a visit I made to the area in early May 2002 while Len was serving in Syria. He suggested Amy and I travel from Nova Scotia to Ship Cove for a visit with Nan and Pop. The weather wasn’t that bad when we arrived but only a few days later a blizzard blew in. The wind howled all night, the power flickered and died, and the snow lay in deep mounds around the house. Of course this small inconvenience was nothing to the seasoned veterans of the ‘old days’; Nan fired up the woodstove, brought in buckets of water and soon the house was warm and cozy and the kettle boiling on the stove. No bathroom? Not a problem! She pointed to the chamber pails in the bedroom.

That morning, when it came time for brushing my hair and washing my face, I used a large bowl to wash in, but where was I going to brush my teeth? I sized up the situation and made a decision. I hadn’t brought boots with me, but Nan pointed to a pair by the door. I pulled them on, shrugged on a borrowed winter coat and took my toiletry kit outside and brushed my teeth in a snowdrift.

I’m hoping when Amy and her man drive up north they’re prepared for whatever the weather-god dishes out.

In the meantime, I plan to be optimistic and believe that spring is just around the corner.

Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: St. Anthony, Ship Cove, Northern Newfoundland Syria Nova Scotia

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