I have always enjoyed winter landscapes, especially in my own local neighbourhood. On my daily nature walk, I connect with the plants, trees and animals and look to see at what stage of their life cycle they might be.
I am slowly starting to recognize some of the signs that Mama Earth shares with us which can reveal so much about the plant and animal fertility, the weather conditions, stressful conditions, etc., such as abundance or dearth of cones and berries, early blooming, late blooming, and more. For instance, one of the most famous examples of these is Groundhog Day which is just a week away. The presence of the groundhog’s shadow allegedly forecasts the arrival of an early spring; if there is no shadow, the groundhog goes back into their den for another six weeks of winter.
Although it is officially winter here in Vancouver, there is still much to observe and the signs of awakening or increasing activity are there for all to see. We often think of Winter as a period of rest for Mama Earth but in this temperate rain forest, and in many other climate zones, it really is more of a shifting of energy from waning to waxing.
On my walking route on a local greenway, I saw so many small buds, catkins and flowers emerging — on the tansy plants bordering the greenway, the local hazel trees with hundreds of drooping catkins, the witch hazels already blooming, and some fresh growth and tips on the evergreens.
I was delighted to see some snowdrops emerging from under a tree, their seeds and roots fed by the rich nutrients from the autumn leaves slowly decomposing into the soil, creating an even richer humus actively converting its components into elements accessible to the newly growing plants.
And even though we are past harvest season, on yesterday’s nature walk I foraged a handful of cedar branches (first asking permission from the treee and then leaving it a small offering), for making either Cedar Tea or adding to a bath when I got home. Then I realized that I could probably do both!