In just a few days, Canucks will be enjoying the Victoria Day weekend, the first long one of the warm season. Though the dog days of summer might still be a few weeks off, those three days hold all the promise, with time spent at cottages and campgrounds, with gatherings for campfires and fireworks.
A federal holiday, still known affectionately as May 2-4, Victoria Day is celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25 in recognition of Queen Victoria's birthday. Yet, in all honesty I suspect there are very few of us in the "true north, strong and free" who give much thought to the late monarch as we pursue our pleasure during the break. I know at our house minds are focussed on prayers for good weather, plans for the completion of outdoor projects to get everything looking spiffy for summer, and hopes for plenty of socializing and fun.
Ultimately when all of that comes together, though the official date might still be a month away, it's clear that summer is on the way.
There are plenty of other signs too. Kids have traded in skates and hockey sticks for cleats and baseball bats. Soccer fields are filling in pre-twilight evenings with players and parents, and tennis courts are seeing action again. Registrations for swimming lessons are underway at community pools. Classic cars and recreational vehicles are making their way out of storage for the return to their summer homes, while cottages and cabins have been opened up and aired. Closet inventory has changed too as shorts, t-shirts and sandals are back while pants, sweaters and winter boots have been tucked away.
One has to agree that it all points to at least the possibility of days of warmth and sunshine.
Not that living in Canada at this time of year can't be a bit of a tease. Yes, there will be more and more days when we revel in balmy temperatures, in birdsong and colour. But then we wake to a bad joke, to a morning so cold, to tiny flakes of white wafting down from gloomy grey skies as we huddle indoors away from the shock.
I recall a Victoria Day Sunday several years ago. A wedding group was standing on the lawn of a beautiful hotel, gathered together for a photo. Girls in short-sleeved dresses shivered and shook as snow fell.
Needless to say, that's not what any Canadian hopes for when we're anticipating our unofficial kick-off to summer. We know it's unrealistic to expect too much this early in the year, but we do. By Victoria Day in Canada it's likely that we're dreaming of days spent reading in the sun, of lazy nights around a blazing campire. We are ready for fresh air pouring through open windows. It's not that we want to rush time. We want spring to last. We just want it to feel consistently more like summer.
So as I look ahead eagerly to a nice long weekend (since I believe in the power of positive thinking) I thought it would be nice to share some clipart collections focussing on warm weather fun: