Traditionally, the spring of the year lured father gleefully into the woods and across the sparsely snow-covered bogs near our home on the west coast of Newfoundland. With winter finally over, the promise of warm sunny days in the air, he’d set out to put down rabbit snares and check to see what the moose had been up to all winter long. He’d spend hours, walking for miles, and knew those woods like the back of his hand. Father never used a compass, for he had a naturally keen instinct for direction. He grew up in those woods, fished the brooks and ponds, and learned how to be one with nature. Fearless, strong and more content in the woods than anywhere, father held a deep reverence for nature. He dearly loved his native Newfoundland; she was always part of him.
Mother, not one to go traipsing through the woods, would stay home with the seven of us, her spirits boosted by the knowledge that with the coming of spring we’d be spending most of our time outside playing instead of under her feet all the time. Of course, we did have lots of winter fun too, but it usually didn’t take too long to soak our home-knit mittens and felt lined boots, and then we’d be back in the house. She knew father would be gone most of the day, and in the back of her mind she wondered if he’d remember.
Ever since they’d been together, and that was nearly fifty years, his first trip into the woods in the spring sent him searching for Mayflowers to bring back for mother. Those small, delicate white lilies that smelled like heaven itself were always her favourite flowers! And father never returned without them.
He’d come home at the end of the day, with wet feet, oftentimes a pair of rabbits over his shoulder, a bright warm smile, and a bouquet of Mayflowers for mother. The look on her face as she held the flowers to her nose, sniffing their enchanting fragrance, is forever imprinted in my memory. She’d hug and kiss him and then we’d all get a sniff of her flowers. They were so very special to her, and a sure sign of Spring’s promise!
Spring 2011 is fast approaching, stirring the beautiful memory of father presenting mother with her much anticipated bouquet of Mayflowers, the only flowers he ever gave her and the only ones she ever wanted.