It’s not all about the snow (but I’d like some)

Spring is whispering its song from underneath the bare earth.The stage is very much still Winter’s: many days of glistening frost, nippy air that bites your bones, fragile sunshine and naked trees. But Spring is twisting and stretching gently like a napping cat about to wake. This unborn season dances invisible in Mother Winter’s belly.

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Image pinned on my Imbolc Pinterest board from nordicwiccan.blogspot.co.uk

Almost invisible. For green fingers push up through and into the air – in spite of the hard ground. In a few weeks they will be boldly nodding daffodils. This weekend, many will be celebrating lunar Imbolc,*  with more celebrating the festival in the middle of this coming week. King Sun is ever so slightly stronger, I tell my son. We are seeing him go to bed a little later and rise a little earlier. I’ve still not seen any snowdrops! They seemed scarce last year, even around Bristol’s wilder edges and crannies.

I’ve enjoyed this winter – am enjoying. (I want to hear the rest of her song before turning my attention to Spring!) It feels like a “real” winter: proper frosts on several hand-rubbingly crisp days. Only one tiniest smattering of snow – enough to delight my son, although how he wishes to wake to see the land tucked up in a proper blanket of soft white like in our winter books full of snowball fights and deep footprints. Such things are quite rare in our part of Britain but I itch to share such magic with him and his little brother. Just thinking (and wishing!) about it, I smile at how their rosy faces will grin and giggle in a state of simple bliss if our wish comes true.

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Mind you, sometimes I think that we perhaps over-depict snow as a symbol of winter, Granted, many of the Waldorf-y books in our home are weavings of writers from more northern parts of the world than mine. Yet at times I feel that Winter’s other players – Jack Frost, the Queen of the NIght / Dark Goddess, the bare trees and earth – that they might deserve a little more attention in the art we make about this season. For me, it’s these symbols of  the outer world’s emptiness and cold that invites us to focus on our inner beauty and riches through learning, soul-work, self-development and stoking our inner fire. When we go outside in winter, maybe we enjoy a view of beautiful buildings (or  have our children enjoy seeing a train going along the tracks!) that is hidden from view by summertime’s clutter of leaves; I feel winter likewise invites us to find that clarity when we look inside ourselves.

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All that barrenness around holds the hope and potential of what can sprout and grow. ♥

 

*the dark/new moon of late January – or early February,

First photo: Ice pictures – on a night when frost is forecast, lay out leaves and others interesting things in a bucket of water outside. Position a string so that the ends will also be frozed into the water to hang your “picture” up in the morning! You can also do this all year round in a plastic tub in your freezer.

Second photo: “Snow garden” that we made a couple of years ago to slightly compensate for our disappointment at a snow-less winter! Use soap powder on a cardboard base, add crystals, mirrors (for frozen ponds), twigs etc. From Earthwise, by Carol Petrash.

Third photo: Our Solstice branches – winter 2016.

Fourth photo: Forest of Dean, January 2015

 

Imbolc

ImageRaw sugar-free “coconut snowball” sweets, omnomnom!

There’s few days I love more than one where I hear the Fffwup, fffwup, fffwup, fffwup, fffwup, crack, SWISH! SWISH! Ffwup, crack, fffwup, crack, SWISH! SWISH! Fffwup, fffwup…. of a forest floor beneath my feet; twigs, sodden leaves, mud, moss, pine needles. Behind me, the wheeesh-wish, wheeesh-wish of my toddler’s puddle-suit lets me know he’s still following us. The absence of his usually-constant chatter lets me know that he’s as absorbed in the beauty of this place as I am. Trips like these are so important for the three of us; for my husband and I to be away from the distractions of household tasks, for us all to be in a open safe enough space where we don’t have to watch Dylan with the intense hazard awareness that we do on busy pavements near roads and dog poo and litter. I love this gift of freedom to relax and enjoy what’s around us. This gift off soul nourishment. Of inspiration. Of peace.

Walalaloool, walalaloool says the nearby (but not too nearby!) stream as it tumbles down some rocks, busy and moving in this still, still place. Dylan asks “Mama sing Muvva Earf carry me song”. I oblige; it’s my favourite goddess chant. A river is flo-o-wing, flowing and gro-o-wing, a river is flo-o-wing down to the sea. Mother Earth carry me; your child I will always be. Mother Earth carry me; down to the sea.

Most of our celebrations for the marker points in the year’s journey for the seasons involve a walk somewhere that feeds our souls. I loved yesterday’s combination of time out in wild nature and some time tending to nature at home; planting our first seeds of the year. Just some herbs in pots and some salad leaves in modules so that they can start off sheltered indoors and then move out to our mini-greenhouse. This, and my first sighting of snowdrops on Saturday (and the sight of some dainty purple crocuses today) feel like Spring sending out little whispers through the blustery winds to say she’s on her way. Hello Spring! You will be so welcome; I have many ideas waiting to grow  with you.

Happy Imbolc ♥

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Springspiration

Yesterday, at the outdoor Stay-and-Play group that my son and I often go to, I saw my first flower of this spring. In the past fortnight, I’ve seen many green shoots poking above ground but this daintily nodding little narcissus was the first I’ve seen to burst out of the green and beam its beautiful colour boldly to all: “Hi! I’m awake, I’m here, I’m strong”. Unfortunately, due to inaccessibly of camera and speed of toddler, I was unable to get a photo to share with you the pretty sight I still have nodding in my memory. But i do have many gorgeous inspiring images to celebrate the coming of spring on my Imbolc Pinterest board!

It doesn’t quite feel like the time for me to celebrate the dawn of spring yet. Not until a few more flowers have come to say hello. Not after yesterday’s wintery pale, chilly sunshine (any readers in North America will be shaking their heads and thinking “chilly?! Chilly?! She knows nothing of chilly!!” I know, I know. It’s all relative!). Until then, I will drift through my dreams of how we will celebrate: recipes, decorations to make, how to spend the day we celebrate on…. Until then. I’ll enjoy just feeling spring slowly stirring, eyes not yet open, bedding not yet thrown off, but just starting to stretch in the earlier dawn. ♥