Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Little Bit of Winter is a Beautiful Thing

Winter at Crofton Marina

There's something to be said for an unexpected dump of snow in a community where I haven't needed to bring out the snow shovel since moving to the island five years ago. For one thing, it keeps us humble.  We islanders are known to gloat about our mild winters, early springs, and almost year round flowers.  We chortle with glee from November to March while the rest of Canada battles blizzards, moans about flight delays and traffic chaos, and digs through several feet of snow.   But not us.  Oh no, not us.  And so every five years or so, Mother Nature decides to teach us a lesson.  For just a day or two, she lets us experience what the rest of Canada experiences for several months every year.

The first couple of hours of snowfall

Of course, our initial response is panic.  A few flakes of snow and we are closing the schools and the stores, cancelling engagements, and spinning our summer tires as we slip into ditches and slide through intersections. The rest of Canada, with Mother Nature cheering them on, shouts "BAZINGA!"

But snowfalls here aren't just humbling, they are also uplifting.  The community puts its best foot forward and displays the spirit that keeps me loving this place.  One neighbour pulls out his little bobcat and putters around town clearing sidewalks without being asked;  others come out and shovel the driveways of their neighbours who are elderly, disabled, or simply busy. We gather, we talk, we laugh, we work. Together we can.

Spotless driveway

Entreprenurial kids run around raking in the money at $5 a driveway, while the laughter of other children echoes through the air as whole families build snowforts and snowpeople at the local park and in front yards everywhere.  The community is out in force - after all, we know that snow will be gone within days, if not hours.
Melting snow in back lane

And so it was.  In less than 24 hours we received about 15" of snow;  and then the sun came out, the town was pristine white and sparkling for a day, and now the snow is melting fast. Already there are large green patches in my lawn, slush on the streets, and the once brilliant blanket of white is dirty and dull. By the end of tomorrow, the snow should be gone.

But yesterday?  Yesterday was amazing.  Yesterday was magic.  Yesterday my camera, my dogs and I couldn't stay indoors.  Yesterday, that little bit of winter was a beautiful thing:

Snow clusters on bare boughs
like apple blossoms in spring

New spring growth on the photinia
temporarily shivers in a gown of white

Snow covered barge,
with North Shore Mountains in background

Snowy Marina

Looking towards Maple Mountain
from Crofton Marina

Reflections of a ferry dock

Osborne Bay

Ferry dock and public dock

And my two favourite shots of the day:

Rising sun lights a neighbour's garage
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

A crystal veil of snow
hangs from the clothesline

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

So much for being humble.  This IS the best place on earth to live.  Even when it snows. 

All photos (c) Jean Ballard 2014. Do not copy without permission.


Choo/Irene said...

Jean, your photos and comments make me smile :-)
Love reading your blog!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures Jean. I quite enjoyed out snow days, and the dogs loved playing in it. Such a rare treat.


Anonymous said...

It looks like the snow did not present any hardship for you in Crofton.
It is VERY pretty... (for a couple of days)
I was a little more trapped here on Salt spring without power or telephone for two whole days- which I was grumpy about - I must admit.
But, it was only two days before 2 snow angels shoveled my steep driveway for me and now life is back to usual.