Spring has always brought mixed feelings for me. It’s such an exciting time of growth, renewal, and promise, as one looks forward to warmer, brighter days ahead. The snow melts and the first greens begin. And the sounds of spring are welcoming to the ears, after the cold silence of winter.
Mixed with the excitement and energy of spring, I often have felt an impatience and frustration, as springtime in Alberta takes a very long time to really get underway.
When I was a young person growing up in High Prairie, Alberta, and learning about photography, I really disliked early spring from a photographic viewpoint. Everything was brown, mud was everywhere, and the drab landscape failed to inspire me photographically. It was difficult to match the excitement I felt with spring in the air, to the seemingly colourless landscape around me, when my eyes thirsted to see green and spring colours.
It seemed to me that spring was much more exciting somewhere else, and the photos that others were capturing of spring were far more interesting than my own.
Fields of daffodils, tulips, streets lined with cherry trees in full bloom, none of this was the spring of my young adulthood, or is my experience, even now.
And yet there are many things that I enjoy about spring. I love to hear the frogs singing, filling the air with their musical chorus. I love the return of all the birds, their singing, the geese, ducks, and swans flying through the air, swimming in ponds, and making their brief stop, before travelling further North.
Since moving to Southern Alberta I’ve missed this mass migration of birds, and the sights and sounds of the Northern wetlands in the spring. We have some waterfowl that stay here, but nothing compared to what we used to see in the North. While I love my gorgeous mountain views and rolling foothills, there’s something about marshes, ponds, and wetlands, and their sights and sounds, that I have missed.
This Easter our family had the opportunity to stay and visit in our home town of High Prairie, Alberta, for a few days. I was really looking forward to capturing images of spring in the North as I remembered it from my younger days. But with a fresh perspective, as I am slowly letting go of all my preconceived notions and doubts about my own artistic abilities. And my belief that everyone else’s images are better than my own. Being content with my own life-not constantly comparing myself, my surroundings, or my experiences, to those of others.
As things would have it, it snowed most of our trip. Nearly every day it snowed while we were visiting. The drab colourless sky, and white ground reminded me of how I used to feel about spring.
Fortunately the day before we decided to come home, the sun came out, and the day turned lovely.
That evening I was able to capture some of the magic of spring that I remember, yet had been unable to capture visually when I was younger.
The big, wide open skies, and lovely evening light were everything I wanted it to be on my last evening at my in-laws.
As I stopped wishing for things I’d like to see, and truly appreciated what was around me, I enjoyed a beautiful evening walk.
Ponds with reflections, pussy willows, a hawk that flew over.
Some swans flew over, and I missed the shot, and felt momentarily disappointed. Their call is a lot different than that of geese, so I kept my ears alert, and hoped I would hear, and see another group of swans. As luck would have it, I did, and was able to capture a few images of swans in the sky.
The music of the water running through the ditches as it journeyed to the Iroquois Lakes, was a peaceful and lovely sound.
These last images captured as the light was fading, and my lens grew heavy, perhaps did not turn out perfectly, but I love the painterly, soft quality of the colours, and the light.
It’s taken me a lot of years to finally start to see things as they are, appreciating their true beauty, and to not be wishing and hoping for things that aren’t there. I’m excited for where this journey will take me.