Nova Scotia through the seasons
Living on the southern coast of mainland Nova Scotia, I have the opportunity to experience each season in all of its natural glory.
Winter, spring, summer and fall have their own unique sights, smells and sounds. They are marked distinctions in the passing of time as the Earth circles the sun and we move through another year on our planet.
And each season is just as exceptionally beautiful and singular as the one that came before it.
McIntosh Run Singletrack Trails in winter (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Victoria Park, Truro in winter (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Winter in Nova Scotia is mild but damp. It may be slow to arrive, but when it does come, it settles in deeply. The frost weaves its jagged fingers into the cracks and crevices of the earth and tightens its grip with steady self-assurance.
The air becomes thick with a damp cold that seeps into trees, rocks and streams. When it finally snows, the crystalline flakes fall slowly, coming to rest in a dense, heavy blanket. The branches of trees bow under its weight, carefully paying their respect to the force of mother nature.
The sweet smell of pine mixes with the sharp chill of fresh snowfall and cool, flowing water to create an intoxicating and heady perfume. Footsteps don’t crunch but groan softly in the deep, wet snow.
Waterfalls, often loud and bursting with energy and force, become solid, icy sculptures frozen in time. The ocean laps at the shores in a slow, lethargic slush.
It is perhaps the quietest and most peaceful of the seasons.
Miller Lake Falls (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Spring coaxes life from the ground with gentle, soft rainfall. The kind that wakes last year’s seeds and tempts them to rise from their long sleep. Tightly wrapped buds sprinkle themselves generously through the thawing trees. In what seems like an instant, the world is transformed into a lush, green haven, bursting with new life and a hint of warmth.
Near my home, a pair of ospreys return to their nest for the season, filling the air with their calls as they soar over the granite backlands, and into Shaw Wilderness Park looking for prey.
Osprey, McIntosh Run Singletrack Trails (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Fledgling robin, Halifax (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Water begins to trickle, then rush, through creeks, brooks and streams.
Fledgling robins hop through our yard, taking short flights to strengthen their wings, hollering for their parents to feed them as they slowly begin to assert their independence.
Spring in Nova Scotia is when the natural world comes to life.
Hunts Point (Photo by Brittany Foster)
McIntosh Run Community Trail in summer (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Summer is hot and humid. The sun is bright and high, warming the white sand beaches late into the evenings. The ocean regains its vitality, and waves crash and collide with newfound energy, pounding the coast and sending spray high up into the air. The sun catches the droplets like diamonds.
Bee (Photo by Brittany Foster)
The air smells of salt and opening blooms. Bees and butterflies swirl lazily through the sticky afternoons, dipping and dancing from one flower to the next.
The heat during the day is heavy and thick, pouring over you like a coat of molasses. You can feel it in the air as you breathe. But at night, a dense fog rolls in from the shore, quietly settling over the baking earth in a cool haze.
It’s a season of long, dazzling days, clear nights and a smattering of vibrant colour, as wildflowers bloom and trees unfurl their leaves like banners stirring in the breeze.
McIntosh Run Community Trail in the fall (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Fall is a colourful and mesmerizing season, with maple, oak, birch, ash and beech trees showcasing their vivid, natural beauty. Leaves change from shades of green to an array of reds, yellows and oranges, flashing like gems as the golden sun glows overhead.
The days are warm and clear, filled with the sounds of departing geese and the last calls of the ospreys before they make for their wintering grounds.
Trails crunch underfoot as trees release their foliage, sending squirrels and chipmunks scampering along the naked branches.
Hunts Point (Photo by Brittany Foster)
Squirrel at Point Pleasant Park (Photo by Brittany Foster)
The sunsets, like the changing trees, are bold and breathtaking. Shades of orange, peach, gold, pink and purple pour across the horizon like a spilled palette of watercolours. After they fade, night settles in, cool and dark. The skies are clear and strewn with white, sparkling stars. The wind carries a scent of frost and distant campfires.
Then, as the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, the natural world begins to tuck itself in, preparing for the slow trek back to winter once again.
Learn more about how you can help to conserve and protect Nova Scotia’s natural beauty and the plants and animals that live within it through the Nature Conservancy of Canada's work and projects in Nova Scotia.