My friends jokingly call me a nomad, I wonder how much truth there is behind it. I don't follow the seasons intentionally or at least not consciously, but I always seem to be returning to Canada just as the last of the cold fades away, and then I leave again as it returns.
The other night I suddenly found that I was very warm in my apartment, so I opened my bedroom window before falling asleep. My room is on the tenth floor and the cool, fresh breeze gently blew against my head as I lay close to the window. I dreamt that night of many things, but I remember distinctly the sounds of nature. I believe I was on a lake, perhaps in a canoe, the details are blurry. There was a crashing thunder, louder than I had ever heard before, and somehow that thunder created a perfect setting in my dream, and the characters (who have all now faded from my memory) fit in perfectly. The images of their unrecognizable faces posing as the sound of thunder crashed behind them is vivid in my mind.
I awoke from my dream early in the morning to a heightened humidity in the air and the sound of light rain against the windows. Within seconds of realizing that I was awake thunder struck and the rain came pouring down. I pulled my blinds open all of the way and the low light of a cloudy morning sky filled my room. The thunder struck again, over and over, and I knew that spring had finally shown itself fully, and it felt good.
Spring in Ontario is one of the greatest times of the year. It is nature rewarding us in the grandest way for enduring the long and tolling winter. I arrived from a tropical climate just one month ago, and I missed most of the winter. But I arrived to the worst of it, and I got a good sense of the gloom that this long winter invoked. I grew up here after all, I know how difficult it can be. But the distinct four seasons that accompany this land are like no other, and each one is so powerful and moving that even after 27 years I am still left awed by the greatness of each season. The sweltering summer where the heat is almost unbearable fades into the crisp fall where everything becomes magnificently orange and red. Slowly everything dies and the nomadic creatures of the land head south and the cold, desolate winter sets in. The winter seems to last the longest, its pinnacle hitting just as people begin to come restless with the cold and wet streets. It becomes unbearable and people begin to question their ability to endure this harsh climate, when suddenly the air warms slightly, clouds fill the sky, and thunder announces the arrival of spring as the rain washes away the winter and our sad dispositions flow down the drains.
The rain eventually stopped that day and the clouds began to break, slowly the sun revealed itself until by mid afternoon its beams had dried the land and were warming the air. I had to get outside so I threw on a sweater, passing by my heavy winter jacket in the closet with a sigh of relief, and decided to head downtown to meet some friends. We went for a stroll in the city, walking around for the first time in t-shirts – always an incredible feeling. The streets were crowded with people, their toques and scarves replaced by smiles and energetic conversations. Somehow everyone’s eyes seemed to have come alive, as if their spirits had been hibernating for the long winter. We found a cafe and a patio and sat in the late afternoon sun, chatting and enjoying the awakened city.
It is the days like these that make the long winters worthwhile; that remind us of how incredible this land really is. I'm glad I was able to experience the transition from winter to spring, it is always a great way to find that appreciation for my home city that can so easily be lost when I leave. Slowly the days will become longer and warmer, and the cycle will repeat itself over the year. I wonder if I will ever experience that full cycle again.