The last little snow patch on the front yard is almost gone, the seedlings in my indoor grow show are sprouting, and when I met a couple girlfriends for lunch at Peachland Sushi yesterday, Beach Ave definitely had that buzz. And while the Calgary in me hesitates to call it…I think spring is here! (Also, sorry Calgary – I talked to my mom yesterday and there is still snow in yards and the impending ‘will there be a crazy March storm?’ The answer is probably yes).
I’ve been missing Calgary, actually. I miss my family and Calgary Sun reunions and being around our people. I’m very much looking forward to that drive east, when we’re through the mountains and the kids see Calaway Park and that means we’re almost at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Yes, everyone is at this ‘enough!’ point in the pandemic – and so seeing all these change of season signs is enough to make anyone happy (I hope!)
How has your year been? I was thinking doing a story on this, so I reached out to a couple of my favourite artists / subscribers / good people I’ve been fortunate to get to know over the past 12 months. And while they’re painters and I’m a word person, the creative process can kind of be the same – and it can get more difficult when you’re isolated from others. I launched this Phoenix thing last March 15, right when Peachland shut down, so I’m grateful I connected with Wayne Power at last year’s HeARTS festival, and Susan Haglund at the PCAC’s 2020 Women’s Day event.
“The last year has certainly been a challenge with many ups and downs for me,” says Susan, when I floated my story idea to her a few weeks ago.
“One of the memes floating around really captured it for me: One morning, you are dancing around making banana bread and decluttering cupboards; the next day you are crying and pouring gin into your cereal.”
“I think it may be helpful for people to read about what the last year has been like for others,” she adds.
“While we may be on our own, I bet lots of people would identify with bits and pieces. My saving grace has been online painting and FaceTime sessions with my Troika (painting) posse. The three of us are a common lifeline for each other.”
Wayne Power started last spring recovering at home from surgery, right as the world was shutting down. He made a backyard studio, drawing inspiration from all his plantings (we’re neighbours and he gave me a tour last spring). He says working on his craft – especially outside, helps with everything that ails:
“Being outside helps a body to mend mentally, as well as physically. COVID has given me moments to enjoy those pastimes and pursuits that otherwise would have been fleeting.”
Yes, people have taken this time to slow down. On the surface, I can’t quite relate to that, having just started a business. It’s been a blur of homeschooling, tech issues (50,0000 fake signups in 24 hours last August), some helpful feedback, some not helpful feedback, and lots of writing, admin stuff and the balancing that lots of other people are trying to do, too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I’m doing. But life is a lot sometimes isn’t it?
I’ve started meditating – an ongoing challenge for a busy brain like me. But I gave it a try again this morning after a couple weeks away. It happened to be about something called Ullassa – it’s a Sanskrit term that basically points to an awareness of natural beauty and taking time to notice it. The soothing mediation-voiced lady noted that even if you’re surrounded by skyscrapers, you can still…be still and notice the beauty around you.
Well, geez. This is easy to do here in Peachland. Just driving down the hill to drop the kids off at school, seeing the lake, going for lunch and reminiscing about old times at the View with a couple of also laid-off coworkers who have turned into good friends….I feel lucky. Spring is here, we’re in the Okanagan, and some more good news – after forgetting about my seedlings in my basement yesterday, I didn’t know what to expect when I turned the lights back on this morning. Were they in the cold darkness for too long?
Nope. In fact, a couple onions, most of my Cosmos and some Calendula have sprouted.
See? Even after some darkness, things still thrive.
Happy Spring, everyone.