Categories: Wednesday ripples 1 Comment

In the Beginning

Crazy weather we’ve had recently in Vancouver, what with the cold snap and record-breaking snowfall that blanketed Vancouver at the end of February.  And yet, spring has a way of asserting itself.  Although some of the first cherry blossoms, the Whitcomb’s, were damaged in the snow, the trees still look pink from a distance. 

The snowdrops and crocus have arrived. The buds on the salmonberry and the elderberry are gently but persistently unfurling, tiny flecks of green in a grey landscape.  The camellia bushes are ready to burst into pink and coral blossom.  A few great blue herons are perched on nearby apartment roofs, keeping a sharp eye out for any females returning to the Stanley Park heronry. And worms are beginning to emerge from the earth.

On March 20, officially at 9:15 a.m., the Spring Equinox will be upon us, with the sun rising at 7:14 a.m., hopefully to shine upon Vancouver, and setting twelve hours and 11 minutes later, at 7:25 pm.  And from then on, each day will bring us 3.4 more minutes of daylight, until we peak at the summer solstice June 21st.  (And did you know that it is the increasing sunlight which triggers birds to sing?!)

Every year, this insistence of life, full of conviction, determination, and beauty. … the first light of another day, the green energy of spring. Every year, this opportunity to savour, to give thanks!  Every year, a reminder that no matter how hard and difficult my life, there is always a new beginning –the possibility of forgiveness, the invitation to turn my life around, the promise of grace, the offer of an Unexpected Love, the hope of resurrection … a taste of Easter in the midst of Lent.

Begin…. by Brendan Kennelly

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.

Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.

Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.

Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.


(Featured Image of “Whitcomb” blossom by Shirley Willard taken on March 11th, 2018 from Vancouver’s Sunset neighbourhood – 59th & Main Street from the website Blooming Now)  


One Comment

  1. The expression ‘insistence of life’ caught me and I have been working with the question whether people with Alzheimer’s disease have lost the capacity for it. My cousin with Alzheimer’s disease resides in a Senior Care Residence. I listened to her strong need go home yesterday. Seeing me (wearing my coat), bringing along my husband, the songster, to sing to her and her fellow residents, she may well have wondered if this would be the day she would get to go home. When the music ended and we turned in the direction of her room, she insisted with increasing conviction that this was not her home, and that she just wanted to go home. Having to leave without her left me wondering whether signs of ‘insistence of life’ have passed this person by. Alzheimer’s Villages based on a Dutch model, designed for freedom of movement within a safe village and allows stimulation of all the senses, are coming to Langley and Vancouver. I wonder if this new way of living with Alzheimer’s could be the stimulus for providing a sense of life’s insistence even for the person with Alzheimer’s disease.

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