When April Falls in February

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

I always trusted Nature and its cycles. In the worst moments when humans turned strange and difficult, I would turn to Nature and relax on the apparent predictability of its big cycles (seasons, day and night, minimum and maximum temperatures, species inhabiting certain spaces and no others)

Permaculture, after all, bases its principles in what we humans, with our short-sighted lives and limited minds can observe. Agriculture and horticulture are also based on cycles and predictability, they couldn’t exist without them: a world without some patterns would be a truly chaotic world where nothing “stable” would thrive…or survive.

That is why Rachel Carson’s quote at the beginning of this post gives me the chills: it is increasingly no longer true…

Yes, we have had weather disruptions and anomalies in the past…but this “no pattern” is becoming a strange pattern.

I spent this past weekend in Victoria, BC delivering some First Aid training to Disaster Management volunteers. I’m talking about February 14 and 15, 2015: middle of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Canada. And here are my pictures:

Victoria, BC, piture taken from a double-decked bus back to the ferry
Victoria, BC February 2015. Cherry Blossom blooming and flowers falling on the floor…


No, it is not snow and they are not old pictures. What you see are cherry blossoms blooming, some already falling to the floor. The pink “stuff” in the middle of the two houses are FLOWERS and the herbs and flowers at the entrance of the Canadian Red Cross were in perfect shape…

Winter in Victoria, BC: among the two houses, pink flowers blooming
Wild flowers and herbs blooming in the Red Cross little garden. February 2015


Then in the news they mention how the “Cherry Blossom Festival” (famous in Vancouver and usually running from April to May) may be in jeopardy because of early blooming…a friend who went to Whistler told me there was no snow there and the weather as around 11C0. This news from Yellowstone says grizzly bears are coming out at least a month earlier…
During a lunch conversation with experienced volunteers for whom “climate change” is very real, they tell me about birds not migrating (because of warm temperatures) and then starving as their “food” can’t be found (it’s winter!); they share other stories from birds to bears and I find more: Increase in shellfish deaths causes ‘full-scale panic’ for B.C. industry (ocean acidification is caused by CO2 increase); Seabirds dying in legions as ocean conditions wobble; or these Northern California Roses blooming in tide pools: Warm ocean currents bring Hopkins’ rose sea slug.

I know: the only thing permanent is change.
But all this is happening too fast…
Sometimes April falls in February…

Early bloom for some Metro Vancouver cherry blossoms

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

2 Comments on “When April Falls in February

  1. Funny thing – I went to nearby Port Alice today, and was thinking to myself – isn’t this odd – cherry blossoms in February?? I then promptly tried to convince myself that I was only imagining that it was way too early. Thank you, Silvia, for reminding me… I realize that I was not imagining. On the other hand, the blossoms were beautiful – at such a cost though…. It is such a paradox. A sad and beautiful world.


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