Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring! 20 March 2016

Sleeping Until Spring

In Fall a leaf
covers a rock

In Winter the leaf
moves under the rock

On Groundhog Day
the snow slides the 
rock over a flower bulb

With the sun warming 
the rock lets the
Flower surprise us

On the first day of Spring

~Roger Apple 3/20/2016

Today is the First Day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox,  in the Northern Hemisphere. One of two days in the year when the daylight hours and the dark hours are equal. A day of balance. Gradually since the Winter Solstice our daylight hours have increased, and will continue to do so until the Summer Solstice. (Most of) the United States switched to Daylight Savings Time last Sunday morning at 2 AM and already there is more 'outside time' - if only the fickle March weather would cooperate! When I was outside earlier today taking the photographs for this Ostara post, I was wearing a ruana.

Even amongst the dead leaves and rusty metal, life struggles forth. I must be a person of balance, or at least one who craves it, because Spring (Ostara) and Autumn (Mabon) are my favorite times of the year.

When we are children, and when we are the parents of children who are still in school, our lives revolve around school-year calendars. And so it should be. Once we are no longer totally controlled by terms, and vacations, and breaks, and snow days, the manner in which we mark the passage of time alters. For those who farm or garden, and those who live in a climate where there is a noticeable - albeit at times gradual - change of temperature and vegetation, as the sun and moon traverse their not quite in sync year, what is called by some The Wheel of the Year becomes more discernible. 

In most major and minor religions the year is marked liturgically, from holy day (holiday) to holy day, from feast to feast, from gathering to gathering.  Occasionally, there is a serendipity to all of these different calendars and things line up. Then everybody feels an extra boost of energy, an adrenaline burst, while foods and costumes and ceremonies are prepared and rehearsed in anticipation of  a time of community and celebration.

This year, the Vernal Equinox has fallen on the same day as Palm Sunday for most Christians. As I was driving home from work earlier today, there were cars in church parking lots, and at one church (Copper Ridge Baptist) two young ladies (no older than 10 would be my guess) were playing on the railing along the handicapped ramp leading up to the front door. Made me smile. 

There is a quickening to life at this time of the year - buds appear on the end of the fragile branches of the Lilac, the Redbuds are in bloom. There are Daffodils, Crocuses, Dandelions, and Clover blooming as well. Soon, yard and pastures will be awash in color, a sharp contrast to the tilled and turned gardens and fields.  Strawberry plants will bloom white, and then luscious berries will droop in heavy, sweet, juicy fullness. Spring onion and leaf lettuce will inspire many mountain cooks to get out the bacon grease, cider vinegar and sugar to make the first wilted salad of the season. Someone showed me a picture on a cellphone at work this morning of 3 beautiful Dry Land Fish (Morel mushrooms) that were gathered very close to where I live yesterday morning. 

Lambing is for the most part finished. Watching the young frolic in the pasture is always a treat on the drive home of the mornings. I had a surprise this morning - there was a young Angus male calf, standing in the middle of the almost 2-lane road, in a curve. I came to a complete stop, watching as he peered quizzically up the hillside, where several head of full grown Angus cattle were grazing. I do believe he was wondering how he could get back there instead of being where he was at that moment. I slowly moved forward, her turned and looked at me, then started  towards the dirt lane along side the hilly pasture he had liberated himself from. I did not go in search of his keeper, for there was a four wheeler pulling a small wagon further up the same dirt lane, and I am sure the farmer was on his way to return the wayward youth to his proper environ. 

Roger surprised me with the above poem when I got home, complete with an illustration, on the back of an envelope :

May your day, and season be one of balance and growth, May you celebrate the large and small heartily and often. Happy Spring!

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