The calendar says May, but where is spring in Vancouver?

Grey skies over Vancouver

One of the advantages of living in Vancouver is the lack of a real winter. Compared to the rest of British Columbia and most of the country, we have it easy here in the southwest corner of the province. A dusting of snow now and then throughout the winter months, rain that does not need shoveling and the occasional sunny day that can reach to the teens. Any visitor from away could be lulled into a false sense that we are living in what Allan Fotheringham used to call “British California”.

After a dozen years in British Columbia, I beg to differ.

Again this year, as we head into May, the question arises: where is our spring? While the rest of the country is setting out patio chairs and firing up back-yard barbeques,  we continue to be huddled around our proverbial heaters, waiting for  skies to clear and the sun to start warming our small piece of paradise. Is this the price we pay for a lack of snow and the biting cold that can be experienced in many places of Canada throughout the year? I have lived in parts of Canada where I have woken up in a tent that was -25 and the outside temperature almost -40. (I was news reporting in Labrador.) I have taken walks through snow storms, weathered blizzards in parts of Nova Scotia and reported on wild ocean storms in the Atlantic. But I often think the toughest weather is what Vancouverite’s endure as they wait for spring warmth to finally arrive.

Nature has received the message. Since April, the trees have been blossoming, the grass is growing and birds are singing. But getting outside to enjoy the warmth and pleasant spring air is a rarity again this year. It is grey skies, cold temperatures and rain for week after week with barely a break.  And as a bagpiper, there’s nothing I enjoy more than spending an hour at my favourite outdoor practice location playing the tunes I have been working on (indoor) for the past seven months. Under the trees and with nature all around you, the music seems sweeter, the tunes more beautiful and the experience that much more enjoyable.

Maybe it’s age. Maybe I’m just getting cantankerous.  But I’m losing patience. When is spring going to arrive? I see by the weather forecast that we “may” get some sun on Sunday. But first, like all good Vancouverite’s, I must endure the grey skies, cold temperatures and rain that seems to be the constant companion of this province on the edge of the ocean.

About Mike Chisholm

Bagpiper, writer, fisherman and father born and raised in Nova Scotia, now living in Vancouver area.

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