Blossom obsession

 

Jan 10: I was promised to live in the Hawaii of the north but so far the Victorian winter has been unseasonably cold. Children have been skating on the shallow ponds near our place for an unheard two weeks. They managed to make snowmen, which in all fairness, melted in 3 days. While the rest of the country experiences real winter conditions with snowbanks, permanent ice rinks and frozen water lines, here the winter weather this year is upsettingly lukewarm. Humming birds still buzz around and red-winged black birds still made their presence known, but something seems off.

Jan 16: My Victorian friend Jill, who’s been blaming me repeatedly for bringing snow and ice with us from Alberta, sent me a reminder that the famous cherry blossoms on View street are only 21 days away. Like winter solstice offering psychological relief to those that fear the darkness of winter, I circle February 6 with a big fluorescent circle on the calendar. It’s the day I finally expect to get warm.

Feb 1. Woohoo, it’s February. According to the newcomers guide to Victoria, it’s time for cherry blossoms, colourful crocuses and droves of daffodils. If I am to believe the locals, this is meant to be the time of the year where retire your hoodie until November and walk around in your shorts and t-shirt. This is the time of the year you make your Canadian Facebook friends jealous with countless images of blossoms and greens. At least that’s what I was promised. However, last night, while the moon, Venus and Mars lined up harmoniously in the dark blue sky, the temperature dropped below zero, again. This morning the ducks are sitting on top of the ice instead of in the water, as the have been repetitively for the last 6 weeks. Our feathered friends huddle together to avoid the cutting wind.

Feb 6: I went to View Street today to see the Cherry blossoms radiate in full glory. It was a beautiful scene to see all the trees in a brilliant white. There was however a small technical problem. The trees were not covered with flowers, but snow. The city turned to chaos. My boss told me to stay home.

Feb 15. The wet cold continues way past its due date. “This is unusual”, the locals keep saying. In the mean time the remainder of Canada chuckles at the Vancouver islanders complaining about their winter weather. And rightfully so. While real Canucks dig a daily tunnel through the snow to find their front door, Victorians board up their houses at the slightest dusting of snow. The “big one”, the major earthquake that is meant to flatten coastal BC, seems to worry the islanders much less.

Feb 26: I keep staring at the calendar. I can’t get over the fact how cold I’ve been since our arrival in November. My self-image has quickly changed from weathered winter warrior to west coast wimp. It’s true what they say: the wind on the coast really does blow not only through down jackets, but through bones and organs too. Here I shiver more here than in the Rockies on a sunny minus 20 Celsius day. I have no idea how East-Coasters survive ice storms, but they have my eternal respect. I am quietly hoping my body will adjust back to the days I lived in wet windy Holland. So far it has not.

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Mar 6: The flower count has started. This light-hearted event is organized to have the local communities take up the challenge to become the “bloomingest community” of the Greater Victoria area. It is all part of promoting Victoria as a great destination during the shoulder season. I look at my window. “I think the count will be over really quickly this year”, I say to myself. I see a few buds but not any flowers.

Mar 14: The local community of Coldwood wins the flower count contest for the fourth year in a row with 64 million blooms. Who makes this shit up?

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Mar 25: I can finally detect blossoms on the cherry and plum trees that grow along many roads. It is indeed a beautiful sight. Daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths have made an appearance in the local parks. Despite being late, there is feeling of spring in the air. I can relax. Just one more thought is on my obsessive mind. “What if it gets too warm this Summer?”

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