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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Awakenings

March is a time of awakening.  It seems that the earth yawns and stretches while shaking off its shroud of winter, and dons the shawl of spring. 
Spring means different things to different people.  To some, spring means pints of green beer in celebration of St Patrick’s Day, to others it is the official time change that extends the daylight hours.  It could be the official Spring Equinox, the sight of virgin buds springing forth into leaf, or Daffodils stretching their yellowed heads heavenward. 
For me as an Islander on the West Coast of Canada, spring arrives with the Herring Run.  For two weeks annually, the waters around Vancouver Island turn a milky turquoise from the spawning of thousands of herring. 
The changing seasons sing to me with the cries of the gathering gulls and Eagles, the barking Seal and herds of Sea Lion.  I see spring in the buoyant fishing vessels sitting in the turquoise sea, pulling silver bounty from the water. 

I find the rolling briny waves, pregnant with the Herring Roe foam, to be the signal that warmer weather is on its way.  It is when I know that the rebirth of plants and new sightings of my favorite animals and birds are just around the corner.
Every year you can find me down at the water’s edge, snapping photos of this natural wonder as it unfolds.  This year was no exception and the animals didn’t disappoint.  

On one visit down to the water’s edge I counted seven Eagles, sitting in one tree alone.  They would take off from their pine vantage point and swoop down over the water, plucking fish up with ease as though the fish were merely motionless.  Their high pitched whistles almost sounded overjoyed as they spent their days chasing each other then rising slowly on the thermals.  At other times challenging each other for dominance of the skies and best nesting sites. 

The resident Blue Heron let me get close enough to watch and snap photos of its fishing practices.  I have been trying all winter to get close to enough to get a decent photo, and I guess my perseverance and slow steps combined with the promise of an easy meal was enough to do the trick.  Just out of the range of the edge of this photo were a couple of seals keeping an eye on her and her catch. 
Although this year was wetter than last year for the two week period that the Herring Run usually lasts, there was a lot to see on the ocean’s surface and above.  It is a great time for nature lovers, and families to explore our local beaches and become enamored with all that we are spoiled with out here on the coast of Vancouver Island. 


  1. I too love this time of year - Trees blossoming buds on the boughs. birdsong that delights awakening one from Winter's slumber.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful observations

  2. I love nature and its rituals. Thanks for sharing.