When I was living in northern Saskatchewan, my former boss took me out for a drive and said that I was “lucky to be there during spring.”
It was technically spring, but although most of the snow had melted, trees were still in their dormant stage, I hadn’t seen the sun in weeks and, of course, I was still wearing a winter jacket.
His remark brought back a memory from my childhood. When I was a kid in school we were asked to create a painting portraying what the four seasons look like. The spring that I saw in northern Saskatchewan did not look anything like my childhood painting, which had beautiful flowers, children (not wearing jackets) playing outside and the sun shining above them.
The Brazilian inside me wanted to tell my former boss, “No, this isn’t spring.” But I took the high road and posted my thoughts on social media.
Now years have passed, but I still feel the exact same way every March, April and May when people start saying that it’s spring but it’s still -1 C when you’re heading to work in the morning.
Let’s be real. Spring in northern B.C. doesn’t really start until the end of May. That’s when we’re finally able to start working on our gardens. To me, anything before that is really just the end of winter.
The end of June, July and early August oscillate between spring and summer. If we’re lucky – and there’s no wildfire smoke – we might be able to enjoy two or three weeks of sunshine and hot summer weather. The other weeks we’ll see mild 19 C and overcast days, to which many refer to as summer.
But in Burns Lake I have noticed an even more interesting phenomenon – fall.
One day it’s the middle of summer and you’re canoeing (well, not me, but I’ve seen lots of people doing it) and you notice a tree changing colour. At first you’re in complete denial, telling yourself that it’s probably just a random, confused tree. After all, summer can’t possibly be over in August.
But then the next day another tree changes colour, and then another… And so you have to come to terms with the harsh reality that you’ll be changing tires again in a few weeks.
But once you fully accept that the incredibly short summer is over (Cabernet Sauvignon usually helps) you start appreciating the beauty of fall in its full splendour, especially on a drive to Francois Lake.
Just when you’re getting used to all the beauty and pumpkin spice lattes, the leaves start falling at an incredible pace. You wake up one day and they are all gone, and there’s snow on the ground.
Thus begins northern Canada’s most predominant season – winter, which starts in October and ends in May.