Across the vast landmass of Canada, the arrival of Spring is a fickle event. In Toronto, it happens abruptly – in like a lion – with brutal winters tapering tumultuously until spring drops like a petal-covered hammer. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it teases for a day or two in February before cruelly resuming its plodding, glacial entrance. This past winter we’ve experienced more snow than we’d care to love, followed by a relentlessness of gloom that makes grey seem like the new black.
But every year there comes a day when something changes: it’s subtle, but it’s there. The air has a hint of warmth and carries the sumptuous scent of blossoming trees, the chirping of birds crescendos into a furious din, and the bright green of new growth appears, seemingly instantaneously, all around. After months of protecting ourselves against the elements, we lower our guard and begin to feel the pull to immerse ourselves in it. Spring has arrived.
The transition from indoor to outdoor living feels like a rebirth: an opening up and an easing. Where we once clenched our jaws and squinted our eyes against biting wind and sleet, we begin to turn our faces and bodies to the sky, to welcome the warmth and dappled light of the vernal sun. The veil of grey that adorned the landscape gives way to the fresh scents and bright colors that now dazzle our senses. We start to peel back the layers that kept us cozy for so many months and let the soft, cool air touch our skin.
These are the times when I am so grateful for fire. At our household, the indoor fire in the hearth gives way to the outdoor fire in the round. Lighting the outdoor fire pit for the first time each year is indeed an occasion: it means we’ve officially welcomed the outdoor season. It means longer days and star-gazing nights; electric lights are replaced by twilights. And it means glorious evenings spent gathered around our fire: storytelling, laughing, (roasting the occasional marshmallow) and thoroughly overindulging in the enjoyment of the outdoors.
Here’s to welcoming spring and wishing you the pleasures of the season.