Checking the ice is my spring ritual

I joined countless other drivers this past weekend driving east through Couchiching and then over the Noden Causeway to see what shape Rainy Lake ice was in.
By late Friday evening, the ice had retreated deep into Sand Bay and the inside channel along the 7-Mile Bridge was opening up.
North of the causeway, the ice had turned almost a midnight black. Where the ice road had been this winter, a black slick of water curved north.
By Sunday, Commissioner’s Bay was open and the ice had retreated farther east in Sand Bay.
Checking the ice is my spring ritual. This year, the anticipation of ice-out and getting to the cabin has taken on a whole new meaning.
My sister announced Monday morning that she had heard we could make our way to Turtle Island by boat. Her neighbour, Brian Keffer, had announced you could go walleye fishing in Rainy Lake on Sunday.
The walleye season does not close until the 15th of this month.
Susan Taylor, meanwhile, let us know that the 2010 river swimming season has begun as youths were seen jumping into the river from the docks.
In normal years, only people unfortunate enough to break through the ice went swimming on the first weekend in April.
While parts of Ontario basked in 29 C temperatures on Easter weekend, our temperatures didn’t break 20 C.
Yes, temperatures have been unseasonably warm. Yes, the green shoots of grass are rising through the brown thatch of last year’s grass. Yes the weeds seem to be outpacing the start of new grass.
And yes, barbecue season is well underway.
The tulips jumped up through the soil in my yard over the week, and I suspect the way they are growing will bring an earlier-than-usual tulip display to my yard.
This past Easter weekend found people out in the yards do their annual clean-up. Trees were being trimmed, lawns raked, and pop cans and bottles were being picked up from under shrubs and bushes.
And a whole new crop of youngsters were out riding their new bicycles with training wheels.
My Alpine Currant shrubs are bursting out into green, as are my Cotoneaster bushes and Spirea. It is the earliest ever for them to bud out.
The ground is dry, and I wonder if I should be watering my lawn and the cedar bushes I planted late last summer.
Kitchen Creek opened the links to golfers this past weekend.
There is an extreme fire danger across the district. “Spring Fever” in Emo comes in just 10 days.
Spring has arrived much quicker than we had anticipated.

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