In Vancouver, the changes in the season is not as pronounced and obvious as the season changes in the Philippines, especially when you compare four to two. There has never been a predictable season change here ever since we moved to Canada twelve years ago, except for the beautiful cherry blossoms on the streets of Vancouver, or the peeking of the crocuses and daffodils on the damp flower beds. Spring is signalled in by commercialism in stores, when Superstore, Walmart and other groceries start bringing their carts of colourful annuals, anticipating the excitement of gardeners, professional and amateur alike, waiting for their chance to till the soil once again. Once Canadian Tire puts out their lawn and patio furniture, followed by humongous grills and outdoor inflatable pools, you know that summer will be following quickly.
What makes the seasons in Vancouver unpredictable is the fall of rain on days you least expect it to fall. We’re called Raincouver, after all, but there is nothing like the soft taps of water on the streets compared to a dumping of snow that the East Coast is still experiencing. Waking up in the morning with unexpected rain is what Vancouverites pay big money for; big money now being compared to the cost of real estate of Manhattan in New York. Oh, yes, there’s nothing like paying big bucks to be drenched in rain days on end.
Rain has its endearing mark on Vancouver, just like fog has on London. While the Philippines celebrates Cuaresma or Lent and Semana Santa or Holy Week in sweltering forty-degree heat, with pasyon or pabasa devotees belting out the hundred-year-old chants of a Philippine epic narrative of the life of Jesus Christ, focused on his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, we in Vancouver go to our Visita Iglesia routes in either thick winter coats, or rubber boots and umbrellas. Most of us miss those days in the Philippines, when we take shifts doing the pasyon, and partake of the delicious food the host prepared for the chanters.
We Filipinos believe, though, that rain is a significant sign of blessing. Just like Noah and his family on the ark, we all look forward to the time that rain subsides, and the rainbow, God’s symbol of promise that He will never flood the Earth again, holds the hope we have for a brighter day. This is what we Filipinos are known for – a people of great hope and believer of the saying, “Look on the bright side!” Rain is never a bother for us. Because most of us have either an agricultural or coastal identity, it is a gift from God, one that is necessary for our survival.
And that is how we see Spring, the rain and the rebirth that will follow after Semana Santa. Nothing is ever dismal, and we are a lover of life and the blessings God gives us. This is the reason why we flock the Churches, and serve God in the most profound ways, because we know we are truly blessed and dependent on his kindness and mercy.
After the rain, there will always be sunshine and rebirth. Just like Jesus’ Resurrection. Just like Easter. Just like Spring.