Spring is when everyone starts to stir. After many long months of hibernating in our homes, we finally begin to poke our heads out and wonder what might be beyond these four walls we’ve seen for so long. The snow is almost, but not entirely, gone here at the park. This was my first Shuswap winter, having spent the rest in the South Okanagan, Switzerland, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. I’ve been around, I guess you could say. Every year, in every place, I anticipate the re-coming of the plants. My eyes are often glued to the ground near buildings where I’m most likely to see tiny green sprouts first appear. In Montreal and Toronto, this comes a bit later, and happens all of a sudden. It seems for so long that the tones of muted green, grey, and brown will never be anything else, but then one day to the next the leaves have exploded.

I didn’t follow precisely the change of the seasons in these places, but I started. Each place has a different cycle and different plants that grow and draw back in each of them. In the South Okanagan, some of the first and last colours of the growing seasons are yellow. Rabbit brush in the late fall and sagebrush buttercup in the spring. Here I’m noticing lots of fluffy sprouts on the trees. There’s a whole world of fluffy, fuzzy Springtime buds to discover!

In the Shuswap, the earth is starting to warm and plants are waking from their winter’s nap. So are the deer, whose little faces I saw watching me as I walked around the park to take some of these photos. The deer are very in tune with the springing of Spring. And I have to imagine the first and subsequent inhabitants of these lands were, too. The return of easier and more abundant sources of food would have been a very welcome sight for those who lived before a global supply chain and refrigeration.

The Secwépemc words for the seasons describe what is happening during that time. It’s easy to see why a worldview that takes its cues from the cycles of the Earth would organize time in this way. Here are the names of the thirteen lunar months in the Secwépemc calendar with their English language equivalents.




1. PELLKWET ̓MÍN – JANUARY “Remain at Home”
3. PELLSQÉPTS – MARCH “Spring Wind”
4. PESLLE ̓WTEN – APRIL “Snow Melt”
5. PELL7ELL7É7LLQTEN – MAY “Root Digging Moon”
7. PELLTQWELQ̓ WÉL ̓T – JULY “Everything Ripens”
8. PELLCT ̓ÉXEL ̓CTEN – AUGUST “Salmon Runs Up Stream”
10. PESLLWÉLSTEN – 0CTOBER “Fall Begins”
11. PELLC7ELL7Ú7LLCWTEN – NOVEMBER “Entering the Winter Home”
12-13. PELLTETÉQ̓ EM – DECEMBER “Fall and Winter Merge”

So as we watch all the snow melt this month, we’ll be looking forward to times of ripening fruit and salmon. I know my eyes will be all the more glued to the ground as green shoots continue to come up. Happy Spring!


[1] http://www.skeetchestn.ca/files/documents/LanguageWebpage2021Documents/secwepemc-calendar-terms.pdf