The Return of the Robin

And just when I thought I wouldn’t make it, it happened. On this day, April 1, 2011, sitting on the bare, dirty ground looking around as if to say, “Who, me?” It’s the Little Robin with the Red Breast. (Birds in general always have this way of cocking their head inquisitively don’t they?) Yes you- you are the guest of honour! And despite my inclination to think cynically, (it can’t really be spring can it – we’ll get more snow, more cold weather) I don’t think the robin is playing an April Fool’s Day Joke on us.

We all know what the robin brings: an end to the dismal darkness. The return of spring means things are new again; Rebirth, longer days, colour in the landscape, and all the rest that comes with it. The thing about living in a four-season climate is that by April 1, temperatures are relative to the -20 below of mid January. With the first hint of warm weather you see people (with pale, pale WHITE legs) in shorts, teenagers sporting tee shirts, and people smiling with their chin up even though its only 5 degrees. But like I said, it’s all relative right? And as Canadians we are excellent at maintaining a perspective on these things For example:

“It could be worse, it could be – 10.” “It could be worse, we do only have to work 5 days a week.” “It could be worse, we could be …. (GASP)… American.”

An interesting fact about April 1: in France in the year 1582 King Charles IX introduced the Gregorian calendar and moved New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. April Fool’s day is thought to be a place holder for this. Upon closer inspection this seems to be an empty and hollow replacement for what should be a celebration of new beginnings and of resolutions, of an appreciation that everything old is new again, and for everything that was lost and cold and dead during the winter months which has returned to us. Is this the trick in itself?

“April Fools! Jokes! You’ve showed up 4 months late for the party! We’ve already been busting our medieval butts on the treadmill since January 2 and were 89 days closer to “our best beach bod ever.” The shores of Camelot ain’t ready for this!”

Ahhh yes, the dark ages. When Kings could single handily over-rule Mother Nature.

Their legacy: The modern-day 31 March has bureaucrats and accountants everywhere, (on their last thread of patience) greet fellow colleagues with a strained: “Happy end of Fiscal Year.” Now THAT’s the cruel joke. Instead of a party and celebration people are balancing books and are frantically spending a budget surplus. (It’s an unforgiving world when you force a Vitamin D deprived population to these lengths.)

There is something that we are reminded of daily in headlines throughout the world. You can’t fight Mother Nature. We’ve fought and evolved and “advanced” so that we can have autonomy over when and where and how we do things. For better or worse, we eat vegetables not native to our climates, we live much longer lives and we struggle to remain “full of life” during a time of year when we should be hidden away, consuming calories, sleeping for many hours a day and trying to stay warm. Come to think of it. It’s no wonder why I can never hold down a New Year’s Resolution. I’m not really meant to start a “new beginning” until the first sign of spring. Well King Charles’ Court, the joke is on YOU this year. We all know that January 1 resolutions peter out by April anyway. So this gives me 3 and a half months to finish what you started.

I’m coming out of hibernation! I’ve got some changes to make, and I’m not motivated by the worst hang-over of the year, but rather, by the fact that everything that has been lifeless can be full of spring again.

I’ll see you on the beach.