Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beginning of Spring

We 3 partners seek to live more with the life's energies of the Earth rather than separate from them, which is surely so common in our culture. We note Nature in the world around us and Nature in us. That includes paying attention to the cycles of the seasons. We find the separation between Humans and the Earth to be artificial, even damaging. Paying attention to these wonderful things is surely about coming home to who we are meant to be. So what are we 3 partners up to at this time?

February 2, a holiday marked in story by many traditions (including Ground Hog Day), is a significant turning point in the calendar of the Earth's seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth and all beings residing here are coming out of darkness. The long Winter's night is less. While light has been slowly increasing since Winter Solstice, the amount of sunlight will begin to increase rapidly between now and May 1.

We took a walk looking for signs of spring on Butterfly Hill Farm today. The temperature was in the low to mid 40's, with blue sky, a thin blanket of clouds, and little to no breeze. While we wore warm jackets, we did not bundle them tightly around us as we had done just a few days before (and will surely need to do again). The air was cool but soft on our skin.

We could almost feel an excitement, an anticipation, in the air. The browns, tans, and grays of the dead or sleeping vegetation are dominant colors. But looking carefully, you can see more. The colors of some of the vegetation are beginning to change. We saw a soft pink on some of the undergrowth in our North Woods. The willows at the edge of the lagoon had an early spring yellow in the morning; as the sun became brighter, that color was less visible. Richard noted the buds of the maples are beginning to swell.

Although mostly gone, patches of snow still hung out in protected areas. Most of the ground was still frozen and firm to walk on. In warm spots, the upper couple of inches of soil had melted. We walked carefully not to compact soil and damage plants, plus avoid bringing mud in on our shoes. We saw tender plant growth emerging almost everywhere we went. It was magical to see.

Changes are occurring in the birds. The Canada Geese are flying, almost as if practicing for those long spring flights ahead. Juncos are fewer in number. Richard has noted occasional courtship calls, especially with the Tufted Titmice. They are tuning up. The colors of birds are shifting from their winter drab to the brighter colors of the courtship season. The Purple Finches are redder; the Goldfinches are more yellow. Curiously, this change in color is created from the wear of their outer feathers. They have those brilliant colors underneath, almost like a Human wearing a drab jacket with a bright shirt underneath. Soon, that jacket will go.

As we were walking near the neighbors' pond, we thought we heard a frog. We stopped at full alert, listening long and hard. We could not verify it. It will not be long.

We also note that the position of the rising and setting sun is more to the North. A few minutes ago, I walked outside and noted Orion (the Hunter), one of my favorite constellations. I asked Richard about the position of Orion throughout the seasons. He said Orion is known as a winter constellation. In the summer, Orion is found in the daytime sky and not visible. Isn't this stuff amazing? How could we not have wondered or noticed these things?

The emergence of Spring will pick up in intensity over the coming weeks. Winter has by no means lost her grip. But Spring is definitely in the air. We 3 partners mark this day as the beginning of Spring, which is typical of a holiday known as Imbolc in the old calendars of Irish, Gaelic, Celtic traditions. We aren't putting away our winter clothing by any means. But the Earth is making signs of bursting with life.

Even the energy of the 3 Humans is returning. Most of the seeds for the garden have arrived, our gardening plans are in full swing, we want to be out more.

We are deeply grateful for the cycle of seasons on this great Earth. Watching, listening, waiting fills us with humility and awe for the Creation of which we are a very small part.

This is the start of our notes on the Beginning of Spring in northeast Missouri. We had considerable notes when we lived for so long in North Dakota. And what, Dear Reader, have you noted of these things in the beautiful place you call home?

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