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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yes, Canada is different

I have no pictures to back up what I'm writing here, but having spent a few days in Quebec City as part of a study abroad program, I can say that many things about our northern neighbor are different. For one thing, the season here is not nearly as far advanced as it is for us in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The Roger-Van den Hende Botanic Garden here is bursting with tulips, with the teeniest of buds on the lilacs (long gone in our neck of the woods) and none at all on the iris. But the primroses! The courtyard in back of our dorm at Laval  University is filled with more varieties than I knew existed, and the botanical gardens contain even more wonders. Some of them look like alliums from a distance, while others are like nothing I'd ever seen. I doubt I'll ever try to grow them as our shade is mostly of the dry variety, but oh my.

We're also in a place where the common trees are not those we see in the Valley. This far north, the oak-hardwood forest gives way to pine, spruce, and birch (though Canada does of course contain its share of maples). One that a companion and I have wondered about is what seems to be a deciduous conifer of some kind. The bark and tiny cones resembles certain pines, but short green needles are just now growing in in tufts. We suspect larch of some kind.

But my favorite dfference is this: the parks here evidently do not weed and feed. Everywhere one looks, there are dandelions--fields, herds, gaggles of them! The Plains of Abraham and the grounds of the Citadel are covered with their sunbursts. Forget "dent du lion"; these babies are pure sunshine--and given how much it's rained since we got here, that's a good thing.

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