This Spring of Contrasts

I had my first sighting of the leaves. Tiny green leaves are sprouting on the smaller plants in fits and starts all over the park. But the older trees, they are stubborn. They are holding onto status quo. This is a spring when we have had snatches of days that could not have been more at odds with each other. If there have been days of liquid sunshine with skies to match, snow has coated the boughs on days, and then there was that day when the fog was thick and heavy, it sat upon my eyelashes as I went out for a run. And the sunsets, let me not even get started about their exquisite beauty as they flame out into the skies.

The squirrels have started showing in greater numbers. They look suitably plump after their hibernation with possibly a decent reserve of nuts. Oh, and there are robins too! Now I have heard that it is a misnomer that robins appear during spring, but oh they do. There are whole bunches of them hopping up and down the slopes of the park, pecking and looking delightful with their breasts of red. As I felt this spirit of joy quickening in their sudden presence, I remembered my mother’s obsession with the cuckoo who lives somewhere in the coconut trees in our backyard in Calcutta. She gets great pleasure from telling me in detail about its odd timings for calling out, till I start zoning out, and the other day, I realised (with a tinge of horror and amusement) that this apple has fallen not too far from its tree.

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Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

58 thoughts on “This Spring of Contrasts

  1. Lovely photos! Spring is definitely coming to your side of the coast. I love the haunting photos of the birds in the misty lake and the sun peeking out of the trees. It looks as though “Squirrel Nutkin” has spotted you and wondering why you are taking his picture πŸ˜‰ Nice! – Neek


    1. Hiya Neek, thank you. I am liking these vignettes of spring. It is still windy and cold, yet it feels heavenly.
      Haha I love the Potter references always with you. This little one fits the bill πŸ™‚ xx


    1. The wheels of time, they keep churning, and take you to places you did not think you would go. Of course we are and with these little bangs called epiphanies πŸ˜‰ xx


  2. Gorgeously atmospheric photos! Delighted to hear your squirrels are up and about. Haven’t seen any of ours yet though they’re much smaller, and almost black rather than grey or red. I normally spot them hopping from branch to branch. Spring here is much more full on, probably thanks to the heady mix of rain and sunshine – bit too much of the former for my liking.


    1. Thank you Sheree. Maybe we should do a squirrel exchange program. Might be interesting to witness the cultural exchange.
      Here’s to more beautiful sunny days at your end. xx


    1. Thank you my lovely! The squirrel especially sends you love and kisses. Now only if he could have a parcel of nuts in return. Almost a fair bargain?


      1. The lucky squirrel shall get to travel to gorgeous New Zealand. I might have a riot to quell here! xx


  3. I love the squirrel photos!

    Last year I noticed that it never feels like a “real” walk here in Vancouver until we have been shouted at by a squirrel. But They have all been silent over the winter. This post made me realize i am looking forward to all those swearing squirrels!


    1. Thank you Josy πŸ™‚ The squirrel was a comical fellow. If he gives the plan a nod, we could have him travel to Vancouver. I mean it would not do him harm to call out to his hibernating Canadian friends, no? xx


      1. I’m not sure if your squirrel would appreciate the long journey!

        I’ve seen a few of his friends (the bigger dudes that hang out near UBC, the University here…) It’s just the teeny shouty native squirrels I didn’t see for a while.

        Your squirrel looks like the big squirrels here, so I might be able to enlist a local to help wake up the little ‘uns!?


      2. You mean the native Canadian squirrels are smaller than these American dudes, is it?
        I shall communicate your concerns to the boys and girls in the park. I am sure they will be thrilled.
        Good luck with waking ’em up then πŸ™‚ xx


      3. Lol I don’t know if they are American or not! There are large grey and black squirrels that look like the dudes I am used to in Europe. Those ones are cheeky but quiet,

        Then there are teeny really cute native red squirrels that swear at you as you walk through their territory. You hardly ever see them, but you always hear them!!


      4. Aw I would love to see some red squirrels. I watched this Escape to the Country episode sometime ago where a photographer courts red squirrels with nuts, somewhere in Norfolk, so that he can shoot them for hours. They looked adorable. And I did not know this that grey squirrels are their enemies, in that they can be fatal to the reds, because of a particular strain of virus that they carry. I found that an amazing trivia. xx


      5. Yeah, I knew that in the UK as these are so few red squirrels left there. 😦

        The Canadian red dudes seem different to the UK ones, but I assume it is similar in that the greys ones are their enemies. 😦 They are soooo cute, but move really fast so it is hard to take their photo!!


      6. I bet they are shy πŸ™‚ I think because of their whittled down numbers, that photographer in Norfolk was helping feed them.


      7. I did spot him. He is almost camouflaged. Is this the grey fellow? Though I spot this reddish tinge around his paws.


      8. That’s one of the teeny red dudes, but he does look pretty grey doesn’t he!

        The real grey dudes are much bigger…


      9. Ah I see. Thanks for the image πŸ™‚ Hope you get them to peek out this weekend.


    1. I would like to believe that spring has arrived for good πŸ™‚ Though the bloody cold winds prevail.


  4. Such beautiful pictures here A! And don’t worry it’s not just you or your mum who are fascinated by birds, meee too! πŸ™‚


    1. Hi Angela, how lovely of you to drop by. The sunsets here often leave me a bit gobsmacked.
      It is surprising how often I find my mother reflected in my subconscious actions. And thank you πŸ™‚


    1. Well said πŸ™‚ I hope it lasts a little longer. Seems like I will get a bit of the season in Seattle too, so I am a happy bird! xx


  5. There are more of our Mother’s traits hiding within us than we probably ever care to admit. My hope is that it is only the good bits.
    Your sunsets through the trees are lovely, really special photos.


    1. Indeed, I realise it with every passing day. I suspect the not-so-flattering bits get transmitted too πŸ™‚ Thank you for your appreciation, India. Cheers.


    1. Thank you Lorelle! πŸ™‚ Oh yes, just to show that the subconscious retains almost everything like a magpie. xx


      1. It’s a matter of few more days I guess πŸ™‚ but it’s lovely to see the birds and I have my walks resumed and love this time of the year!


  6. Love those little patches of snow, still there! We have nothing but green and I’m realizing I need to feel more grateful for it. When you mention the little green leaves are sprouting on the shrubs, I wondered if you have seen William Carlos Williams’s poem from his time in the Rutherford NJ area, Spring and All?

    By the road to the contagious hospital
    under the surge of the blue
    mottled clouds driven from the
    northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
    waste of broad, muddy fields
    brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

    patches of standing water
    the scattering of tall trees

    All along the road the reddish
    purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
    stuff of bushes and small trees
    with dead, brown leaves under them
    leafless vines-

    Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
    dazed spring approaches-

    Your description reminded me of “All along the road the reddish/purplish,forked, upstanding, twiggy/stuff of bushes and small trees” – and then he says, “sluggish/dazed spring approaches-” I’ve been in a class this spring where we studied this poem, and the instructor said that Williams means that spring comes out, comes out, sluggishly and without knowing, that the little leaves and little sprigs just come without any special meaning. And you’re right there, where he was! πŸ™‚ Here’s the link to the poem:


    1. Theresa, loved the poem. Thank you for sharing it here and for the link as well. I absolutely adored these lines because they mirror my observations this spring:

      ‘They enter the new world naked,
      cold, uncertain of all
      save that they enter. All about them
      the cold, familiar wind-‘

      I will look up his work. And you are right, Rutherford is just a half hour away from us. The patches of snow have gone and the green grass is springing to life, the trees regaining their leaves and pretty blossoms everywhere. I am loving this burst of colours. Whites, pale pinks, yellows, …along with the blue skies, they are intoxicating. xx


      1. That’s so great, Dippy-Dotty Girl! You’re right there at “ground zero” for the environment Williams was writing about. It makes me feel good to know you recognized the same observations as he did. πŸ™‚


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