Mother Nature in spring
Published in the June, 2021 edition of Lifestyles
By Myrna Driedger
The weather is warming up, the winter is over, and there is much to look forward to. COVID-19 has changed our lives for over a year now. It has been challenging for us all to adapt to this new reality. As we enter into the third wave, it’s important that we take care of our mental health. I encourage everyone who is struggling to reach out, to access resources that are available, and to remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Please check out https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell/ for resources free of charge.
With the vaccine rolling out, I think we have reason to be cautiously optimistic. I say ‘cautiously’ because even those of us with the vaccine must continue to be careful and vigilant. It’s important that we continue to follow all public health orders, physically distance, wash our hands properly, and wear a mask. I received my vaccine as soon as I became eligible and I encourage you all to do the same.
Here are some fun ways to connect with nature as the weather warms up!
With the snow all melted and the sun shining, I have spent my spare time focused on my favourite hobby, gardening. This is a wonderful pass time for everyone who has a green thumb! And it is also one that can be done while physically distancing. Gardening can be done in a yard or in a window box. It can yield beautiful flowers or useful cooking herbs. There are so many options to garden on any scale that works for you! I love to plant perennials to make this time of year a fun revival of mainstays from my garden of the past year.
Another great addition to your garden are lilacs. Interestingly, bees love lilac plants. Their wonderful smell brings bees around from far and wide and also attracts butterflies. The buzzing of a bee is a happy sound and important to the health of our ecosystem.
Planting food can be a lovely addition to your backyard garden. Tomatoes, corn, and carrots, make for delicious cooking supplies over the summer. On a smaller scale, window herbs provide a fantastic source of flavour for your meals. Who doesn’t want the satisfaction of eating what you grow?
If gardening isn’t for you, there is still so much benefit from spending time surrounded by plants and trees. Spending your free time outside in our gorgeous nature is a wonderful way to take advantage of spring and summer in beautiful Manitoba. Remember to physically distance with those from outside of your household, avoid crowded trails and spaces, and turn around and leave if your outdoor space becomes crowded.
Here in the constituency of Roblin, there are two large trails that provide ample opportunities to get outside and connect with nature. These are the Harte Trail in Charleswood and the Grand Trunk Trail in Headingley. We also have many parks and open community areas.
Nearby, the Assiniboine Forest is a fantastic place to experience nature within the city. This urban forest has many walking trails under a beautiful canopy of aspen-oak vegetation. These trails are groomed all year round and there are maps along to way to help visitors guide themselves. Depending on where you are in the forest, you will get to experience wetlands, ponds, meadows, or a treed area. The Charleswood Rotary Club has been dedicated to the forest since 1990 by providing volunteers and initiating or supporting many special forest projects. I want to thank the Charleswood Rotary for everything that they do.
There is no doubt that this is a tremendously challenging time. COVID-19 has come into our lives and changed so many things. While the vaccine brings hope, we must continue to be vigilant. Now is the time to continue to follow all public health orders, continue to physically distance yourself from those outside of your household, continue to wear a mask, and continue to wash and sanitize your hands often. Be sure to check out www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/vaccine/ to find out when you become eligible for your vaccine.
In the mean-time, spring has sprung. While we might not be able to gather in groups, there is so much to do outside. Let’s focus our attention on the beautiful outdoors. The benefits of gardening, experiencing the trails, and walking through our urban forest can make for a wonderful and healthy activity.