Books·Canadian

There Is a Season

Poet Patrick Lane's memoir includes evocative descriptions of the animals, birds, insects and plants in his Vancouver garden.

Patrick Lane

(Penguin Random House)

Believed by many to be one of the finest poets of his generation, Patrick Lane is also a passionate gardener. He lives on Vancouver Island, a place of uncommon beauty, where the climate is mild, the air is soft and the growing season lasts nearly all year long.

Lane has gardened for as long as he can remember, and sees his garden's life as intertwined with his own. And when he gave up drinking, after years of addiction, he found solace and healing in tending to his yard. In this exquisitely written memoir, he relates stories of his hard early life in the context of the landscape he's created. As he observes the seasonal changes, a plant or a bird or the way a tree bends in the wind brings to mind an episode from his storied past.

Lane writes evocative descriptions of the animals, birds, insects and plants that are his garden, and of the relationship he has to them all. Accompany Lane as he wanders his garden, where botanical "madeleines" release in him a flood of memory. (From McClelland & Stewart)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

I stood alone among yellow glacier lilies and the windflowers of spring, the western anemone, their petals frail disks of trembling clotted cream. I was a boy and the mountain ridge I'd climbed was only a half-hour hike from the back door of my home. In the east the blue peaks of the Monashee Range rose up against the Selkirks and beyond them the far Rockies and the plains. I had wandered that morning among sheltered coulees and rocky hills and, finally resting, stared out at the paling distance. 

The high hills and mountains were my solitary land and I hiked the trails year-round. The days were all one to me back then, and the scuffed pad of a cougar's track in the wet clay of Six-Mile Creek in summer was no less wondrous than the spread toes of a coyote's paw print in a fringe of January snow on the BX Ranch where he had braced to leap upon a vole or scurrying mouse who had come lucklessly into the thin winter sun. 


From There Is a Season by Patrick Lane ©2005. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

Author interviews

Shelagh Rogers speaks with Patrick Lane in 2012 about his collected works and a lifetime of writing. 29:18