Hunting for the Crocus & Other Signs of Spring

Peace River, Alberta (Photo - TMoyles)

Peace River, Alberta (Photo – TMoyles)

I couldn’t ask for more abundance on this splendid Easter Sunday.

In the valley, beauty abounds.

The bowl of the Peace country is the place on the map where I grew up. I feel the joy of remembering this season called Spring! It’s been a long time coming, old friend.


The great thaw, the ice coming undone. (Photo - TMoyles)

The great thaw, the ice coming undone. (Photo – TMoyles)

On the river, the wide vein of water is thawing itself out, colossal icebergs heaved up on the shore and candling into perfect splinters. The dogwoods burn red at the edge of the blue and white.

Tiny red survived the winter. (Photo - TMoyles)

Tiny red survived the winter. (Photo – TMoyles)

The rose hips are shrivelled survivors of winter, preserved in their resilience, tiny blots of red against an otherwise colourless landscape. The dried leaves of the Manitoban maples flicker gold against a blue sky, look closely and you see the wings of a moth, designed to perfection: the flags of Spring, oh, they flutter, wanting wind!

The Manitoban maples (Photo - TMoyles)

The Manitoban maples (Photo – TMoyles)

In the hills, we hunt amongst the wild tufts of dried grasses for a hint of purple. The prairie crocus, awoken by the sun, or the promise of sun, at the very least.

The first riser on the hills, the prairie crocus. (TMoyles)

The first riser on the hills, the prairie crocus. (TMoyles)

I can’t tell you what it means to witness the birth of this wild flower, again. She makes me feel at home in these hills. I remember a poem I wrote in university, an ode for this pioneer of Spring. Orphan child, I called her. Unafraid of another burst of winter, the crocus goes for it — but without praise, her colour too soft to claim the landscape, not like the flame of the tiger lily. No, the crocus is humble in her beauty.

Quietly, she unfurls herself to the season (Photo - TMoyles)

Quietly, she unfurls herself to the season (Photo – TMoyles)

Hunting amongst the hills for beauty, we find what last year’s humans left behind: beer cans and old wrappers. Reminds me of being a teenager in this town. And then, must be in Canada, again, I think and laugh. Dad finds a FREE DONUT on a roll-up-the-rim-to-win. Finder’s keepers. One man’s junk is another’s treasure.

My parents, the crocus hunters (Photo - TMoyles)

My parents, the crocus hunters (Photo – TMoyles)

In the fields, the migrant birds celebrate another year’s return. Last year’s grain stalks poke through the remains of snow, grizzled, unshaven. The Canadian geese, the mallard ducks, the elegant Trumpeters grace the surface of where the snow is melting, collecting into tiny lakes. I go running after them like a labrador. The geese lift off first, honking their annoyance, but off they go – no shortage of water to land on. The Trumpeters linger, large dinosaur birds, glimmering white. Perfection. Then they take off in twos, arching their long necks, tilting upwards, beating the water – splash! – balancing their black legs in the under carriage and whipping the air. Their long necks stretched elegantly forward in their departure.









We aren’t so different, I think, as I watch them sail away.

The land under my feet feels like home, feels like coming home, again.

Home on the hills (Photo - Linda Moyles)

Home on the hills (Photo – Linda Moyles)

On the radio, the Beatles sing, “Here comes the sun, everybody. Here comes the sun and I say, it’s alright…”

At home, there’s an old companion doing what she does best: following the sun, her head tilted towards the light like a flower.

Tia, old friend. (Photo - TMoyles)

Tia, old friend. (Photo – TMoyles)

Thanks for listening on this sacred Easter Sunday…may Spring find you, wherever you are in the world, may you feel the thaw of the season, may you find and sit in the sunshine.



  1. Courtney Rupertus

    This post is so wonderful! It truly hits home for me, as I also used to go ‘crocus hunting’ with my grandmother in the Peace Country. Makes me miss home, but your writing encaptures exactly what it feels like to live there (come from there).


    • I’m happy you can relate to my love for Spring in the Peace, Courtney! Thanks for writing!

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