Friday 4 March 2022

Memories of other times …

Once again with yesterday’s snowfall, this winter is making sure that it is coldest and snowiest, I have experienced in my almost 34 years in Canada.

During the first week of March in every one of those years, I have always looked back to March 3rd, 1980. At the time as a Technical Apprentice with Rolls Royce, I was to start a three-month assignment in the Drawing Office. To do this, I had moved from the Rolls Royce plant in Hillington (Glasgow) to their facility in my hometown of East Kilbride. It meant for the first time I could walk to work, which for me was an absolute delight. I recall very clearly that Monday morning, walking through the old village of East Kilbride and passing some of the thousands of daffodils that each spring carpeted the village and the surrounding new town. I can also still remember passing the old village cemetery and hearing the lawnmowers from over the perimeter wall and smelling that unique scent of freshly cut grass.

When I look back on that memory, my first thought is that it was 42 years ago, My God that time has certainly passed in a severe state of haste. My second thought is that even after 34 years in Canada, I instinctively at this time of the year, still strongly feel the absence of seeing countless numbers of daffodils growing wildly all around, and enjoying that smell of freshly cut grass.

Another related memory is from 1988, the year I lived through three springs ~

Prior to coming to Canada on April Fool’s Day of that year, I lived in the Basque region of Northern Spain in Lejona, Vizcaya (Leioa, Bizkaia as it is in the Basque language). I left there in late February, when the typical damp winter weather with lots of rain had ended, the locals were already wearing summer clothes and enjoying warm sunshine on the beaches. 

I went to Scotland from Spain, where by early to mid-March, the grass was getting cut and my home town looked nice with the stunning brightness of the daffodils and snowdrops.

As mentioned, it was on April 1st of 1988 when I arrived in Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), at a time when the roads were getting cleared from their latest snow storm. I recall with overwhelming shock, seeing all over the place what seemed like mountains of frozen hard snow banks, grass that was colourless and dead, trees with no leaves and feeling temperatures that I thought could only exist in the North Pole …!!! It was not until mid to late May of 1988 that I finally saw leaves coming out on the trees and grass starting to grow, I don’t recall seeing the slightest hint of a daffodil in what was my third spring of 1988 ….

Two memories from 42 and 34 years ago, that I always think about at this time of the year. I guess the instinctive feeling of missing or perhaps yearning for the March weather of Scotland will never leave me. But living now in the South Shore of Nova Scotia and no longer having to get up early in the morning to go to a place, I enjoy and feel a lot more content with the winters. It is only since coming to the South Shore, that I can finally see the beauty the cold season can offer. I have also found that winter beach wanders are the best.

Below are pics from this crispy March 4th morning wander around our empire, showing a little beauty from our latest snowfall ….