Sap, the first kiss of spring, so full of promise of the showers of April, the blossoms of May and the gardens of June. For anyone still in denial, step out in the early morning to listen to the plethora of bird songs, all different, each one sweet. After its long winter’s nap, spring has begun to stretch with new life all across the land.
Yesterday, while we were boiling the sap, our two herons flew over the farm checking out their favourite watering holes. When I began writing last August, the earth was so parched that our ponds and the neighbouring creek barely had enough water to support one. The winter of the big snow restored the water table making new beginnings possible once again. This lovely winter with all its snow and mild temperatures came as close to perfection as I have ever seen. But I won’t miss it a bit because spring has arrived.
These two seasons are so opposite in nature that it is hard to believe they are siblings. Where winter delights in its power to subdue everything in its path with its pure energy, spring softly calls a frenzy of life out of the earth as it rains away the winter. I guess just as winter provides much needed sleep for the earth, so spring’s lullaby allows winter to take its rest.
It is fitting, as winter releases its grip, we remember that when our precious supplies of fresh water had all but disappeared, winter arrived with its gift of snow. We did nothing to earn this second chance. In fact, the way we act when water arrives in abundance, looking for ways of getting rid of it, you have to wonder whether we even deserve the gift.
Canada is truly blessed with fresh water. Even with the Great Lakes at lower levels than have ever been recorded, we still have more fresh water than anyone else on earth. This fact alone blinds us to the reality that we hold, in trust, the pearl beyond price. While every day, people in the world die for want of fresh water, we flush our toilets with it. While farms and gardens around the world need to channel water, at huge expense, to keep their crops alive, we drain it from our fields as fast as possible, all the while complaining about the delay it causes. Yet this very same fresh water is the pillar of life. We cannot live without it.
Perhaps it is time we learned to celebrate water and this paradise we have been given with its abundance of water. Earth Day arrives on April 22. What better way to recognize Earth Day could we have in the Kawarthas than to celebrate water. Our life’s blood in this region is our water; and we saw last summer just how vulnerable that water really is.
Now there are lots of ways we can celebrate water. Take a canoe out on one of the many beautiful lakes, rivers or wetlands that comprise the Kawartha Lakes watershed. When you do that, recognize that we hold the headwaters of most of central Ontario. These waters need our protection. If you aren’t into canoeing, take the family for an evening walk along one of our many beautiful beaches to watch the sun set. Maybe you have another favourite activity, but if you don’t canoe and you don’t walk and you don’t do anything else, then send a contribution to Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief so they can buy and install 30,000 litre rain barrels to service communities in Africa that lack sufficient water to sustain the necessities of life. Their web site is www.cpar.ca. Whatever you do to celebrate Earth Day, make it fun for the whole family.
Canada’s water is not ours to degrade as we please. It has belonged to earth’s children since before time. Our job is to respect it, connect with it and protect it during our short stay on this planet. On April 22, Earth Day, let’s make an attempt to reconnect with water. For all our children’s sake let’s try to deserve the precious gift that last winter brought us. See you next time.