Spring Equinox 2018: Here for good

Posted on Mar 19, 2018 in Nature, News, Reflections, Seasonal Messages, Travel

Recently someone new to Alberta asked me, “When does the snow stop?” really meaning to ask, “When does spring come?”

“It comes and it goes,” I replied. “And then suddenly it’s here for good.”

My mom left a message on my phone a couple of weeks ago: “It’s running out there! You can hear the water. It’s running down the drains. It won’t be long now. Just a few more warm days.”

The seesaw of melt and ice.

Spring, like all seasons, is a transition state. Spring reminds us that there is growth in every season of our lives. Like all transition states, beginnings require careful navigation. It’s slippery. We’re not always sure of our footing.

Early in February I celebrated Brighid’s Day, what’s sometimes called the Celtic spring, with about 20 other women. We took turns passing through Brighid’s crios. Brighid’s girdle was once a hoop made from the old year’s harvest straw; our girdle was made of strips of cloth found at Fabricland. Three times we passed through the crios. Circling left and then right and then left again and through. First to leave behind all that was ill, then to give thanks for all gifts of the year past and then to pray for new growth.

We entered the womb of Brighid to be reborn.

This spring I am conscious of new relationships emerging, not only in my personal life but in my community. I’m not always sure of my voice in these relationships and often feel as if I am taking two steps forward and one step back.

In a close personal relationship I am exploring, there is a testing in the dialogue as we come to know each other’s edges and strengths, as we talk about what is really important to each of us, as we come to see our own vulnerabilities in the mirror of the relationship.

In the same way, I’ve been witness this past year to an emerging dialogue in Canada between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, at work, in public gatherings, in the media and amongst friends. For me, the talking and the listening is cause for hope.

So it was serendipitous this past February that I got to visit New Zealand with this person I am exploring a partnership with, a Pakeha, a person of European or non-Maori ancestry, who grew up there. That I had the opportunity to witness a different sort of relationship between settlers and Indigenous peoples than one I am used to, a partnership grounded in mutual respect.

Maoris were granted the same rights and duties as a British citizen with the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) as well as control of traditional lands. Like Canada, the treaty wasn’t always observed. Rights were trampled. Lands taken. Residential schools were imposed. The social effects of this are still evident to some extent. But the Maori have always been represented in parliament; the Maori have always had the vote. Their land claims process has largely been a fruitful one. They communally administer their lands; they also individually own sheep stations and tourist resorts, live on “lifestyle blocks” (acreages), and in villages and cities where they work alongside everyone else. Most of the towns have Maori names and many of the streets. This is a country whose educational curriculum is written in two official languages and incorporates not only Western content, but Maori principles. The consciousness is different.

Like an Alberta spring, justice may come and go, but I do believe one of these days it will be here for good. If we keep at the dialogue.


  1. Barbara Roy
    March 19, 2018

    As always,I enjoy reading about your thoughts and observations.I recently had the opportunity to attend the performance of “Children of God” at the Citadel theatre. It explores residential school life and the aftermath. It was well done and a moving and emotional experience.There were interesting queries posed in the program,ie “do you have any relationships wth aboriginal persons,and if not ,why not? I thought it was a good question and also thought provoking beyond the basic yes or no answer.It is a question to keep re-visiting I think.Have a good spring Audrey,I look forward to the next quarter!

    • Audrey
      March 20, 2018

      Good question, Barbara. Thank you for asking it.

  2. Anita Jenkins
    March 19, 2018

    The history of the relationship between Aboriginal people on the Canadian plains and the government of Canada is truly terrible. There won’t be a lot of healing for many decades, if ever.

  3. Cheryl
    March 20, 2018

    Hi Audrey,
    Thanks again for your insight and thoughtful essays. I cannot imagine marking the seasonal cycle without your stories. Sounds like we could learn something from the New Zealand experience. And it sounds like you have something special taking root.

  4. Anne Mohl
    March 21, 2018

    Hi Audrey

    I am grateful we met up by chance again at the downtown farmers market. Reading your words always stimulates curiosity and my imagination. We plan to be in New Zealand in November and it is not too early to start delving more deeply than the price of tickets and accommodations. Thank you for sharing so generously.

  5. Linda Bumstead
    March 30, 2018

    Hi Audrey,
    Once again, I enjoyed your seasonal insights. I heard the drains running very quickly when I was in Wainwright for my great nephew’s third birthday. Kids really remind you that there is always renewal – they love everything, the snow, the drains, sticks and squirrels.
    You are brave to be vulnerable and open to a new relationship. It’s great that you got to go to New Zealand together.
    I have been reading and thinking quite a bit about the relationship of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Although I think reconciliation will take a long time I am always amazed at how spiritual, resiliant, inclusive and forgiving Indigenous people are.
    I was interested to hear about the Maori in New Zealand. One time when we were in Copenhagen I saw some people I thought were Indigenous Canadians and I wanted to go and speak to them but Colin told me they were probably Indigenous people from Greenland. We hope to go to Australia and New Zealand in the next few years and I will keep my eyes open for the things you mentioned.
    Thanks again for ushering in a new season with hope.

  6. Pearl Gregor
    April 23, 2018

    Spring has emerged with the most amazing promises in my eighth decade. Promises made 30 years ago coming slowly to ripen into the fruit of the new season. Spring on the farm promises the a new greenness, the veriditas of earth, soul and body. Twin calves born yesterday remind me once again the birth archetype. The relationship of people with their earth home is in much need of repair and feels as desperate as the need for healing the relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. I have been privileged in my life to be in threaded relationship with both the earth and her Original People in many ways through my life on the land, through childhood, career, drumming, dream and healing circles.

    This spring brings the promise of publication of Dreams Along the Way: A Trilogy of the work of the last 30 years of my life. I have come late to this springtime of rising. Thank you Audrey for this reminder of the power of the perpetual cycle of the feminine manifest outside my window and inside my soul.