We are surrounded by signs everywhere we go. Signs are not just wood and metal, neon and LED, or print and paint. A sign is anything that is meant to draw our attention to someone’s message; they are everywhere we look. A droplet of water clinging to an icicle signals the warming of the earth during incrementally longer days. The scent of moisture in the air precedes a soft summer rain. Notes trilled from the treetops tell of the arrival of southern songbirds. An egg-laden damselfly heralds a season of aquatic activity in the various wetlands near where I live.
The Fraser River Valley of British Columbia is in a temperate rain-forest zone which means that wetlands are never very far away. A family favourite is the Cheam Wetlands park just a few minutes drive from our home. This is a beautiful parkland for taking a leisurely stroll, and the ecosystem of the wetlands is full of signs for the knowledgeable observer. For the less-educated onlooker such as myself, it is simply a wonderfully unceasing flow of seasonal changes.
Signs truly do surround us. Man-made signs vie in a crescendo of urbane cacophony to draw attention to their messages. Natural signs much less so. Nature speaks in a language of times and ages; unmoved by frenetic little creatures inhabiting mere generations. This realm borders the eternal and its heartbeat is measured in increments of eons. No passive observer will ever obtain its secrets. No clinical witness will ever touch its soul. This is true, and beyond the boundaries of this place, only stillness will ever hope to know.