Walking season has renewed vigour

The birds are back in town. Yes, spring is on its way.
The return of the seagulls, much like the return of the swallows to Capistrano, marks the end of winter here. The ice still may be frozen on the lakes, but those gulls are squawking their excitement at being back in Canada.
I was told last Thursday that they had returned, but it wasn’t until I was walking along the waterfront here Saturday that I saw my first gull of the spring.
It was perched on a piece of floating ice, pecking at something that seemed frozen into the ice.
Those first few birds were followed by others. By Sunday, a huge flock was rafted up in the river and riding the waves. More will arrive daily, and the noisy din will grow louder each day until the birds can disperse across the lakes of Northwestern Ontario.
There is a local legend that the arrival of the first seagulls comes just before the last three snows of the winter. A friend in International Falls claims to have seen her first gull last Tuesday. We’ve already had two light snows, which would leave only one more.
Winter already has gone on too long, and I, for one, would just as soon do without another snowfall. The walkway along the waterfront is now free of snow and the walkers have returned to the sidewalks.
When planners first envisioned the waterfront, they did so with a view that it would created commerce.
The Sorting Gap Marina may create some, but the real benefit of the waterfront has more to do with health and fitness. My dietitian and doctor constantly are on my case about regular exercise—and both have prescribed a regimen of daily brisk walks.
I must admit that once the ice storm arrived in December, the thrill of being out on the ice departed and the daily walking routine came to a screeching halt.
There are other places to walk, but I really enjoy the streets and sidewalks of Fort Frances. I watch spring come, then summer and visitors, the changing of colours.
I get to watch people dig and plant their gardens. I see the plants sprout and then the harvest of flowers and vegetables.
And this past Easter weekend, the arrival back in the community of seagulls. The walking season has renewed vigour.

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