Column: Those anticipated and surprising signs of spring

I realized this morning I forgot to note if March came in like a lion or a lamb.

I realized this morning I forgot to note if March came in like a lion or a lamb.

Thanks to the receptionist at our dental clinic I learned it came in like a lamb. Normally that’s something I like to mark on the calendar. Just for fun.

However, looking back I realized on March 1 that my husband and I took a walk with our puppy that Sunday morning and I set the camera on its macro setting. I had fun zooming in close and later documented what I saw, including a large tree filled with pussywillows.

I shared that photo on the Tribune’s Facebook page and it garnered several hundred likes.

When I lived in Nelson as an adult, I competed regularly with my dad to beat him and see pussywillows first. Once I had children, I’d pick some branches of pussywillows for them to take with them to Kindergarten.

In Rupert one of the first signs of spring was the eulachon run on the Skeena River.

There you’d see thousands of seagulls, hundreds of eagles, and dozens of sea lions fishing. Growing up we learned about the “candle fish” on the grease trails used by First Nations. As a young student I envisioned a large fish.

Then in Prince Rupert, our daughters attended an elementary school that held a multicultural potluck. There I saw and ate my first eulachon, discovering they were much smaller and greasier than I had imagined.

When we moved to Williams Lake in August 2011, we rented a home directly below Signal Point, the mountain feature.

During the first spring we discovered how noisy the lake gets when the ice is melting.

Friends came for Easter that year and we gave them our bedroom. When we went back up to sleep up there on the Monday evening we heard the birds from the lake and couldn’t believe the noise coming from all the birds.

So far this year we’ve seen a few birds gathering on the ice.

This morning about a dozen birds —  swans and seagulls­­  —were on the ice’s edge at the Scout Island end of the lake.

And for a week I’ve been watching a pair of eagles near the CN tracks closer to the town end of South Lakeside Drive.

Last Thursday evening I heard my first cougar ever. We were returning fom walking the dog along the road below Russett Bluff (the rock feature) when we heard it.

It was in the trees above us, making a growling meow. We thought it was a cougar in heat but learned the next day they are usually in heat in the fall.

And as we got out of the car at the end of the work day Wednesday I stopped because I could smell the earth and budding branches.

It’s nice to see the signs. Winter wasn’t that harsh, but I’m ready for the change.

Monica Lamb-Yorski is a staff writer with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.

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