Spring pockets

Spring is coming slow here in northern B.C. with daytime highs of five or six and lows in the –7 C range.

Spring is coming slow here in northern B.C. with daytime highs of five or six and lows in the –7 C range.  The roads have turned bare and dry but the fields are still full of the white stuff. It is slowly — oh so slowly — settling into the ground and filling the Earth with its life-giving moisture.It’s a broccoli kind of spring.  We know it’s good for us but we can’t wait for the dessert to show up just the same — even if it means clogged arteries or high blood sugar. Or in this case, flooded basements and washed-out roads.Still I know spring has sprung because my parka is getting heavy. I have been an outdoor pick pocketer since childhood and spring is always when I go on a spree. Freshly exposed gravel roads after months of snow and ice make all those bits of rock look especially beautiful. As the season wears on I will get fussier, but right now I am pocketing freshly exposed pebbles like a greedy magpie. Sparkly ones, green ones, red ones, smooth ones, oddly shaped ones.I am also a sucker for unique pieces of wood, bits of bark, feathers, pine cones, eggshells dropped by a robin after the hatch, antlers, abandoned wasp nests and the like. Some of these things find permanent places in our home while others take up space for a few weeks, then after being thoroughly admired are released back into the wild.I am not sure where the compulsion to ferret bits of nature into our home comes from.  I do know I am not alone. I have a childhood friend who now lives in Australia who shares my affliction. I was delighted to receive three Australian parrot feathers in the mail. In exchange I sent her some Canadian woodpecker and magpie feathers to remind her of home.I also know several people who collect rocks. Not pebbles that can be stuffed into pockets, but the kind of rocks that require the use of both hands and a strong back all the way up to hiring a crane. I recently spoke with an amazing woman from Ontario who collected rocks and plants with equal passion resulting in a one-of-a-kind gorgeous garden.The majority of her rocks were found in the surrounding forest and lugged home by hand or by wheelbarrow but a few of the mammoth ones were purchased from a nearby quarry.   She described marking the ones she liked with a roll of florescent surveyor tape. It took her weeks to make up her mind as she agonized over each one. To make matters worse every week they unearthed new ones and so she would find herself removing the tape from a previous selection in favour of a new one. I could easily empathize with her dilemma.I have always wanted to buy a few big rocks of my own. One that I have admired for years I doubt is for sale and even if it were it would cost a fortune to bring it home.  It sits in a front yard along the highway between Grande Prairie and Edmonton. It’s the size of a couple elephants. Or maybe an elephant and a sizable tiger. It’s hard to judge when you’re flying by at a 100 clicks, but I do know that it’s big. Leaning against its side is a ladder. It seems to me that both the rock and the ladder have been there for as far back as I can remember. And that’s a pretty long time considering I can remember when Pringles potato chips were new fangled. The top of the rock is perfectly flat. Half a dozen people could fit up there with ease. I have never gone by when anyone was on the rock, but the ladder sets the imagination to flight. Picnics, sun bathing, cloud watching, star gazing, camp outs … . I think it would be a fine thing to have a rock like that in my garden.If I keep squirreling rocks home at my current pace I could soon build a pile of pebbles about the same size as that rock. However, highway maintenance might have a few questions for me.Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from northern BC.  You can read more at www.shannonmckinnon.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
Poster popping up on Vancouver Island falsely claims COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

A survey by Statistics Canada finds Black Canadians earn less than non-visible minority Canadians despite having higher levels of education. (The Canadian Press file photo)
COVID-19 worsened unemployment picture for Black Canadians

Black Canadians also more likely to suffer other hardships

On June 23, 2020, Sunrise Rotary announced it will be donating $50,000 in support of the Bridge Youth and Family Services for the construction of the “Okanagan Youth Recovery House” project for young people under the age of 19 who are experiencing addiction. (Contributed)
Interior Health adds 10 youth substance-use treatment beds in the Okanagan

The Bridge Youth and Family Services will operate the beds

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Most Read