Tag Archives: vernal equinox

Spring Equinox Celebration

Monday is the Vernal equinox, when night and day become equal.  Or more commonly known as the first *official* day of spring!

And oh how welcome it is, especially after the dark bitter months of winter.  My soul cries to hear birdsong once again and greet the returning robins to my yard.  As the light increases and the temperatures warm, I await the arrival of our titmouse who long ago claimed “my” trees as his domain, and my husband as his favorite buddy who keeps the feeders filled with seed.  I long to see the daffodils and forsythias dot the landscape in yellow splendour, and cherry trees erupt in a froth of flowery plumes.

But the Vernal equinox didn’t mean much to my younger self because in upstate New York, Easter was synonymous with spring.

So the equinox would come and go with nary but a fleeting thought.  Why?  Because most likely, there was still four feet of snow outside our windows.  In fact, even a month later, when the Easter Bunny arrived with colorful eggs and bright baskets filled with delectable treats, there could still be snow in the forecast.

I remember one year, we had an ice storm on Easter Sunday itself and afterwards, the whole countryside sparkled like jewels in the sunlight.  I can still see my young self, enchanted by the ice coated leaves of the mountain laurel blanketing the hillside next to our house.  I crunched through the crusted snow and gingerly detached the ice from a glossy green leaf, careful to keep it whole, marveling at the ice-leaf before plopping it into my mouth and relishing its clean, icy goodness melting against the roof of mouth.

I loved Easter.

I loved it so much, my Dad continued to *surprise* me with an Easter basket every year, all the way up to the age of sixteen.

It’s only now as adult that I realize it wasn’t so much about the trimmings of Easter that sparked my young heart into joyous fire.  It was the fact that it meant the return of spring.  The return of life to all of nature.  It was baby chicks and bunny rabbits, flowers and sunshine.  There was nothing more wonderful then spending an afternoon dyeing hard-boiled eggs into an array of pastel colors and fanciful design.

For what can be more symbolic of rebirth, than an egg?

But I now live in the mid-Atlantic.  And the return of spring does arrive on the Vernal equinox.

So today, I’ll be hosting my annual Spring celebration with a few close friends, and include all of the symbolic goodness Easter.

Happy Vernal Equinox!  Blessed Ostara! Welcome spring.

 

Advertisements

Snow Heralds in the Spring

 

 

 

 

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'”

~Lewis Carroll

 

 

There’s a full moon tonight, and a weather advisory for the Northeast and Midatlantic.

Snow will start falling tomorrow, and keep falling through early this week until it lays a thick quilt across our land – up to 12 inches thick – so say the weather soothsayers.

It’s been an unusual winter for the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.

February is usually our coldest month and sports the heaviest of our snowfall.  But this year?  We saw nary but a few spartan flakes.  Temperatures rose to 70 degrees, warming the land and softening the earth, then cooled again, on and off, just like we would expect it to, had it actually been Spring.

Museum of Shenandoah Valley

But the Spring Equinox doesn’t occur until next week, March 20th to be precise.

Yet the wild Cherry trees and Bradford Pears are in full bloom.  Blue-violet crocus’ and buttered daffodils cheerfully raised their showy heads, while the forsythias donned golden yellow dresses enticing trees, everywhere, to cast forth buds.  Robins once again dot the lawns and song birds are caroling with glee.

So I guess it’s not just me.  Nature must have been fooled too.

Silly us — thinking that Persephone had returned early from the dark underworld.  For how else does the earth awaken into leaf and bloom, but from Persephone’s joyous reunion with Demeter, goddess of the harvest.

But Mother Nature roared, as she is sometimes wont to do.  “Not so quick, my darlings.”

And thus, nearly one week prior to the Vernal Equinox, we will have the first snows of winter arriving enforce, to herald in our Spring.

So as is custom – stores are packed to capacity with last minute shoppers buying milk and bread.  Snow shovels and rock salt are being brought back out from early storage.  And seed catalogs perch next to armchairs as firewood gets stacked next to the hearth.

It was hard to shake off the lethargy of winter.  I felt like a hothouse bulb forced into bloom, out of sequence of natural time.  But I had rallied and began spring-time activities, awakening in due course.  And BAM!

Now I must put all the frenetic energy I spooled into being, back on hold.

The hearth has been laid.  The house is prepared.  Hatches have been battened down.  Let it snow, let it snow, let snow.

Charles Town, WV