|"The view from our front window this morning," my brother Brian and his wife Wendy wrote me from their place near Red Deer, Alberta, on Easter Sunday. They'd just had a fresh fall of snow.|
|The view near our house in Vancouver on Easter Friday. The "snow" on the ground was pink. Photo by John.|
"April is the cruellest month," T.S. Eliot wrote in The Waste Land, and my brother Brian and his wife Wendy may well have reason to think so. They sent me a photograph on Easter Sunday morning of the view of the lake outside their home near Red Deer, Alberta. A fresh coat of snow made for a very white landscape indeed. "Just so you will remember what real snow in April looked like -- happy Easter," they wrote.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, we are at the height of our pink season -- cherry and plum blossoms floating above our heads and drifting to the sidewalk, a skiff of pastel at our feet. During an Easter Friday walk, I kept spotting trees with spectacular pink blossoms and John obliged me by shooting them with his superior camera. At one point, both John and a young woman were taking pictures beneath a particularly eye-catching tree -- blossoms thick above and below -- as the woman's toddler scooted through the fallen petals. We had different languages, but we smiled at each other: Beautiful.
I don't think Eliot was writing about weather in his poem, but I wouldn't blame Brian and Wendy for thinking his words might be appropriate. For them, white snow this Easter. For us, pink.
|John at work; it's hard not to take pictures when the cherry trees are in bloom.|
|One of those spectacular trees with the blue sky behind. Photo by John.|
|And blossoms at the foot. Photo by John.|
|An avenue of cherry trees in bloom. Photo by John.|
|An odd-shaped cherry or plum tree, with the branches shooting straight up as if it's been electrocuted. Photo by John.|
|I was thinking of all the pink around us these days, so shot this little magnolia just getting going on a street nearby.|
|And, some pink hyacinths in my garden.|
|Pink Easter lilies and alstromarias brighten up my dining room.|
|I've gone for white instead of pink in my own garden, with two different kinds of magnolias. Mr. Darcy doesn't care about the colour; he's just glad he doesn't have to walk through snowdrifts any more.|
The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot (first part of first stanza)
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
(This is not a poem I've ever studied, but one interpretation is that the return of life in spring is difficult for those who are more comfortable in the numbed-out hibernation of winter.)