BOS 04 01 2021 doublesize
The last trip out with our puppy on Sunday night the rain had turned to snow. Sometime during the night, however, the clouds broke. My first trip out before dawn the next morning I saw that the moon was full. The shining white disc peeked through the trees casting long gentle shadows. The night before it had been full, but I did not know it, hidden by the clouds as it was.

On a clear night the stars shine brightly over the water, all around us. On a cloudy night, the world is dim and dark, but I know the stars are there beyond the clouds.

At night in winter, I check the weather by looking for the lights of the Meaford training base. Those lights are always shining, but if squalls develop over the bay, the five bright lights will be hidden. When I cannot see them, I know I have to check where the squalls and storm are in the morning before going anywhere.

In the day time, I can see the clouds themselves. I watch the billowing blue grey clouds move across the water. Noticing what land they hide from my view tells me where it is snowing hard.

A week ago, on a bright warm day, the ground was buzzing with flies. Four butterflies flitted in the air. As the day grew cooler, the flies migrated to the south facing wall of the house. The butterflies hid. These insects and many others that I did not notice had hidden themselves away for the winter. Under leaves, burrowed into the ground, they slept under the blanket of snow until the warmth and sunshine revived them.

As the snow melted, our puppy found an amazing collection of twigs and leaves. When he arrived five weeks ago, the whole yard was buried in snow. He found a few sticks that had been blown off the trees. He chased dried hydrangea blossoms that bounced across the snow. But as the snow left, he found a myriad of things to pick up and chew. He misses the snow which he found easy to dig in, but what awaited him under it, he appreciates.

As the snow melted, I looked for the first signs of daffodils, tulips, muscari and garlic. There were none. The strange early March weather took the snow pack away before the bulbs were ready to grow, at least here by the shore. I began to wonder if the garlic had suffered from the winter weather as I usually see some sign of them as soon as the snow is gone. I need not have worried. Daffodils are showing long stems. Tulips are starting to appear. The muscari I planted last fall are clearly pushing up through the lawn. And the garlic is growing quickly.

On a warm day, I tried to remember exactly where all the irises are so that I could clear last fall's leaves off their roots. Some of them did not flower last year, so I want to be diligent about making sure their roots are not buried. I will get out my ph meter as well because irises are rather particular about the soil ph, and that is not something I can tell by just looking. And not to worry, I did not discard the leaves, just moved them off the plants. There are insects hiding in those leaves.

There is a saying, "I'll believe it when I see it." But early spring is a reminder that there is life we will not see. Clouds mask sky and land and water from our view, but the stars and moon are still there. The sun is still at work even through heavy clouds. And sometimes what masks our view can teach us.

Cathy Hird lives on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway