In this time of crisis and social distancing, why not press pause to connect with nature by looking for the first signs of spring around you? Éric Richard, scientific advisor with Les amis de la montagne, shares his tips for enjoying a springtime break safely at home, on your balcony or on a walk in your neighbourhood. The golden rule: make sure to breathe deeply and sharpen your senses. This will help you to relax, slow down and release your stress!
Look at the Trees

Throughout the city as on Mount Royal, the first signs of spring can be seen in the branches of trees as the sap carries stored energy from the roots to the buds. In a few days, the silver maple will be among the first to flower. Buds of various textures have suddenly popped up everywhere: the downy catkins of willows, birches and magnolias, the glossy buds of poplars and the tender unfurling needles of conifers.

photo: Evimage on off

Stop and Smell the Flowers (and Soil)

Pay close attention to the thawing soil and to the smells in the air. Humus and wet leaves give off a rich fragrance that makes gardeners want to get their hands dirty. You might already see the first buds of spring flowers that will soon carpet the undergrowth and flower beds of our parks and mountain. In no time, we will be treated to a blast of colour: yellow coltsfoot, trout lilies and daffodils, white trilliums, bloodroots and hyacinths and multicoloured tulips.

Listen to the Sounds of Birds

Close your eyes and pay attention to the various bird calls, which are especially active at this time of the year. A sure sign of the end of winter, ducks and Canada geese can be heard once again as they cross the Montréal skies. The peeps of sparrows and the tui tu! of chickadees are also very present. With a little luck, you might also hear the sound of a woodpecker drumming on a hollow tree or wooden pole. A few robins have already arrived and are noisily reclaiming their territory. They are imitated by starlings with their deceptive song. If you are an early bid, you will have a little more luck as our feathered friends are very active at the start of the day.

Photo: Michèle Daoust

Breathe, Relax and Start Again!

Repeat this experience 15 minutes each day to reap maximum benefits. Don’t forget to practise social distancing and to wash your hands when you get back. We will see each again on the mountain after we have successfully overcome this crisis.

You can learn more about the benefits of nature for young people in this article (French only) published by the magazine 100°.

Enjoy the spring!
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