In my mind, the word ‘spring’ conjures images of cherry blossoms, and tulips. Of not wearing my long underwear every day, and being able to shower without fear of catching pneumonia. Of blue skies, pussy willows, and green grass.
Spring in Ottawa is not like this at all. While there are birds in the trees, blue skies, and a distinct lack of a thermal sub-layers, there are also great piles of dirty, melting snow. I expected them of course; 80000 tons of snow won’t disappear overnight. I had simply forgotten how unattractive they were.
The melting snow is handy in a way; sidewalks, curbs, and lines on the roads are now visible, and I don’t have to clamber over snow banks to get to the bus stop. The temperature now hovers around +1C; balmy after so many months of snot-freezing weather! Even the creepy, squishy lump masquerading as my lawn has begun to glow green with the promise of grass! You may laugh but I found myself tearing up at this evidence that winter was finally ending!
Something else I had forgotten about spring in Canada. It smells. We’re not talking this:
We’re talking putrid, rancid, rotting smells. Ottawa may be the capital of Canada but if you look at a map, Ottawa is surrounded by forests, fields, farms, and suburbs.
The forests, fields, and farms are redolent with the smells of thawing, rotting organic matter. Not necessarily a bad smell, simply a pungent one. It’s a different story in the suburbs.
The stereotypical definition of the suburbs implies that everyone has 2.4 children, a minivan, and a dog. Where I live, people have whole-heartedly bought into this vision of Utopia. It seems like every second house has a dog, including mine. Dogs who visit the dog park to frolic with their canine friends. Dogs who poop in the backyard all winter long. I gather this is normal dog-owning behaviour in Canada. Why pick up poop when it is going to freeze, and be covered by snow and ice? Even stranger, dogs inexplicably like to play with these frozen poop-sicles. (Can you tell I’m more of a cat person? 😀 )
While I do see the point of this logic, I wouldn’t want to pick up poop in -30C weather either, over the course of the winter, the dogs have created an ice cream sandwich of sorts with layers of frozen poop, ice, and snow. Now the ice and snow are disappearing leaving poop-sicles as far as the eye can see. It’s like an archaeological dig. Poops-sicles in the back yard, the front yard, and in the dog park. Sneaky poop-sicles along the road, and by the bus stop. All melting in odorific splendour in the warm spring sun.
The dog parks are more lakes than parks these days, creating a melting, poop-sicle filled swamp.
For dogs, this may be a season of frolicking and feasting, but I have to say, I’m looking forward to summer. I think. Every season reminds me of things I had forgotten about Canada. What will summer bring? It couldn’t be worse than melting poop-sicles, could it?