June 2, 2017

Red Shift

Rhubarb from our garden space. First fruit of the season.

To borrow a term from astronomy, there is a red shift happening in my life right now. I can see it all around me as we shift from winter to spring, and from spring to summer.

Astronomers use the concept of red shift to ascertain how far away an object in space is from Earth, and to tell whether that object is moving toward us, or away from us. Objects moving away from us shift toward the red end of the spectrum, therefore, red shift. It is like a visual Doppler effect.

Red shift/blue shift.

Right now winter is moving rapidly away from us, and thank goodness for that. Even spring is moving away from the land, although that shift is a little slower here than other parts of Canada.

I can see this shift in slowly rising temperatures, and in the life that is returning as the cold and grey of winter recedes into distant memory.

Trees are leafing out, seeds in the garden are germinating, and colour returns to the land. Some of that colour is red, indicating another kind of red shift.

Rhubarb is an early spring plant, and one of the first to emerge in the garden. While everything else is slowly waking up, rhubarb bursts forth out of the ground to herald the shift in seasons. Before long its greenish-red stalks are holding up giant green leaves letting us know that the first fruit of the season is ready to harvest.

Some of our summer neighbours enjoying our feeder.

While that is going on another bit of red is flying into the scene. This year we got our hummingbird feeder out early to attract these beautifully red-throated visitors as soon as possible. And did they come. So far, the record is five hummers at the feeder at the same time.

After months of a cold, grey and white landscape we can see winter red shifting away from us. As that happens colour returns, and red is one of the most beautiful, and tasty. Today I watch hummingbirds from my kitchen window as I bake up a stellar rhubarb raisin custard tart.

I can see summer moving toward us (that would be blue shift), meaning heat and clear, blue skies.


  1. Anonymous6/02/2017

    Welcome, summer! Here in Texas, its getting warmer and it won't be long before we have our famous Texas heat. But I am okay with it - cycles of nature exist for a reason. My window-view is a lush courtyard with flowers, succulents, and lots of green trees...heaven!!

  2. Anonymous6/02/2017

    Our usual understanding of time is the clock that aids economic productivity and this is what most people think time is.
    Time is actually more diffuse. Time is the changing of the seasons and rhythm of nature, migrating birds and plants bearing fruit.

    1. Anonymous6/03/2017

      Alex, I like your perspective on time. The modern clock has been used as a jailer, and many people also 'imprison' themselves on a stressful treadmill due to our perception of time. I know I've done it for sure. On the weekends I often have to remind myself, there's no hurry, you have all day to do it!

      We are working towards working less so that our focus is again on 'real' time, as you have described it. I try to be grateful for the abundance of work I have whilst looking forward to a more natural way of living with time.



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