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The First Day of Spring

The first day of spring is always a day of celebration but this year it feels even more important to mark this day after the long winter we have all gone through in our lives. Hedgerows are now alive with flowers & birds. Violets mingle with primroses and the chiff-chaff calls out its name to us to let us know it has arrived.

This year I have had the pleasure of celebrating the day with a wonderful group of people thanks to Boundary Way Project who invited me to lead a session via Zoom to share the wonderful ways we can enjoy the day by acknowledging Mother Nature.

We talked about the names for this time of the year- Vernal Equinox, Ostara, Spring and about how it is the time of the hare, who as I write this, is exploring our garden. Last year we had the privilege to have her choose our garden to give birth to twin leverets and are hoping she may honour us again.

Eostre was the Anglo – Saxon (Germanic) goddess of dawn/spring goddess who was sometimes depicted with the head of a hare. She is the namesake to the Christian celebration Easter as she is a symbol of the rebirth of the sun each day and also of renewal. Her name is also repurposed as Ostara, which is one of the names for this time of the year and is one of the marker in the wheel of the year.

'The hare is such a timid creature that even in sleep she never closes her eyes'

The hare, of course, lives with us in the British Isles all year, but as spring is sprung so too seem to be our hares who become more animated and seen in daylight hours although still mainly inhabit twilight and dawn. This increased activity must surely relate to the name of Mad March Hare.

The colour of this time of the year must surely be yellow as vibrant forsythia begins to bloom, daffodils are in full bloom and primroses provide a more subtle variation.

It is the time of the year to begin putting ideas into action and planting those seeds that you were choosing from Imbolc's 'seed catalogue'. But it is with care and ensuring that the climate is right. When we plant seeds outdoors we need to check the temperature of the soil, which needs to be warming. If we plant too soon we risk losing our plants. So in the garden, so in life ! Whilst folklore tells us to check the temperature of the soil by sitting on the soil with a bare bum, I would suggest walking barefoot for ten minutes to gauge the temperature of our earth and ascertain if it feels warm. Its also a wonderful way to literally ground ourselves with our earth and feel nature under our feet. In life we need a similar barometer to ensure successful growing of ideas. And remember the old folklore relating to planting which can stand us in good stead for our gardens and our lives. 'One for the rook, one for the crow, one for dying and one to grow.' The one thing is certain if we plant four seeds then at least one should grow. So test the ground for those new ideas and activities, this is springtime's gift to us all.

So open your windows, look for spring, it is there, open your heart as well as your eyes. Gather and create something that puts you in touch with nature. Take time to notice and to be creative. Listen to the hum of the first bees being restored on the nectar of lungwort, look for the colours of spring in your home patch, discover the birds that are singing springtime in. It really is worth celebrating!

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