Here and there and in transition: thaw

Munson Pond is an old gravel pit in southwest region of Kelowna. Last Friday, seven friends of the FEELed Lab gathered for our latest Fringe Natures event, “Thaw.”

Thaw can describe the condition of the pond and the ground, both slowly waking up from winter. The word also invites consideration of what our bodies might need as they, too, transition between academic and seasonal phase changes. March is a tough month for many people in or adjacent to university life in places like Kelowna: the tired point of the semester (the enthusiasm of the start may be waning, but the end is still over a month off) and the tired point of the winter (the -20 degree days feel like ages ago, but toques are still de rigeur) find confluence. Just taking a break to be outside during the workday can be its own reward. What does your body need right now?

A figure in a green top and black pants is seen from behind as they walk along a gravel path, beside reads and grasses that line a large pond.
Walking the perimeter of Munson Pond
Three figures in the distance come towards us along a gravel path. Bare trees and dry grass are on either side of the grass, with mountains and a blue sky in the distance.
Three more walkers!

We walked the 1 km track around Munson Pond twice. The first time, we popped in our earbuds and listened to an mp4 file of the somewhat distant South Fork Snoqualmie river during ice melt recorded “on the hottest day in the Pacific Northwest in 1000 years” in June 2021. The second time, we listened to the local sounds of pond, the birds, the rustle in the grass. We walked alone, together.

A wooden platform looks over a pond, with a small figure standing on it. The sky is blue with dramatic white clouds obscuring a low afternoon sun.
Pondering the pond… ?

What came to mind as we walked, and what did we reflect on once we stopped for a cup of tea and a snack?… that the invitation to walk at whatever pace we needed to was welcome; …that observing a relative as she was waking up might be a bit intrusive, even rude! … that framed by the narrative of ‘the hottest day on record’, the sound of thaw brought feelings of slow catastrophe – even as the pond was ponding in exactly the way it should; … that climate, without a narrative frame, is only weather; … that walking alone, together, felt safe; … that the offering of hot tea and a nourishing snack in times of thaw is a good way to end the week.

A black thermos and a black tea cup sit on a wooden bench. Peels from a mandarin orange lie in front of them.
A smiling person with dark hair, a black coat and white running shoes leans against the wooden railing, and holds a bright orange teacup in their hands.
Orange ya glad ya came?!

Fringe Natures #4: THAW was also our first event that included “elsewhere participation!” Read about Isa’s thaw walk just north of Barcelona here. Remote and accessible participation options will now be a feature of all future Fringe Natures events, which you can read more about here.

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