We have puddles! *does happy dance*
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re undoubtedly studying that first sentence and trying to figure out where to find the double entendre. That’s a valid and downright laudable reaction. If you find one, I hope you’ll share it – I do love a good double entendre! But that wasn’t actually my intention (for a change).
No; this post is in celebration of spring. It’s my favourite time of year – crocuses and tulips and daffodils peek out, the grass turns green, the birds come home, it snows two feet… you know; the usual stuff.
Back in arid Calgary, spring puddles are fleeting – the snow seems to evaporate instead of melting. But here on the coast we have good old-fashioned puddles that bring back delightful childhood memories.
I grew up on a prairie farm where the terrain was dead-flat for miles. That and our heavy clay/gumbo soil made it prime puddle territory. Venice had nothing on us. I remember riding the school bus along our country road and looking out at water as far as the eye could see, neatly divided into a one-mile grid by the raised road allowances that were the highest point on the prairies (and only a foot or two higher than the water level).
Every kid had a pair of rubber boots: the taller the boots, the better. Puddle-wading was both art and science. We learned about refraction early – the place you thought you were stepping wasn’t always where your foot ended up. The penalty for that was a boot full of icy water, which didn’t dampen our enthusiasm at all. It was a sport to see how far we could wade into a puddle before we filled our boots.
We also had a small inflatable dinghy that we could row across our puddles (we had serious puddles on the farm). And there were always ditches full of water that required all sorts of digging in the mud to produce complex drainage trenches and dams.
Sometimes it turned cold enough to freeze the puddles hard. That was prime ice-skating: glassy-smooth, with grass and fallen leaves locked below the surface as if cast in crystal. But it was always tricky to determine whether the ice was strong enough to bear our weight… which brings to mind another favourite sound: a slow ominous creak followed by the buzzing crack of ice failing, usually accompanied by squeals and splashing.
I still love going out in the early morning when temperatures are below freezing. Overnight some of the puddle-water seeps into the ground, leaving a white fragile ice shell floating over empty air. There’s nothing like the sharp hollow sound it makes when stepped on – it’s almost as addictive as popping bubble wrap!
At 52 years old, you’d think I’d have developed enough dignity to leave the puddles alone; but nope. Not even close. I’m still incapable of walking by a shell of ice without breaking it, and last week I went out and bought myself a pair of tall rubber boots that’ll make me the envy of every kid in town.
I’m going out to play in the puddles now… how about you?