Today is Ostara or the Vernal Equinox, one of the two times in the turning year (the other being the Autumn Equinox or Mabon) when Mother Earth and all her creations exist in perfect balance for a brief shining interval. Humanity had nothing whatsoever to do with this day, a pivotal astronomic point ordained by the heavens themselves, by the natural order of things in this magnificent cosmos where we live out our days, spinning like tops in the Great Round of time and space.
Earliest of the northern wildflowers, the Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is forever associated with this day in my mind, although it will be weeks until this delicate creature blooms on our Two Hundred Acre Wood in the Lanark Highlands. The snowy petals and lavish golden hearts of springtime's first shy bloom can be seen from quite a distance when walking in the woods here, and discovering a flowering colony of bloodroot is finding treasure.
If I lived further south than I do, today would be a day of greening and enchantment, a day when Ostara, the old Teutonic goddess of greening and fertility, wanders the wild places with her arms full of spring blooms, bestowing largesse and blessings on the plants and animals. Flowers would spring up in her footsteps as she passed, and the air would be full of birdsong and the heady fragrance of wild springtime herbs.
Last night I went out to the garden (and a cold going it was too) to look for the waxing moon, and it seemed to me that the dear little crescent over my head was a perfect expression of this turning of the wheel. Perhaps winter and the dank gray funks of March are on their way out at last. I can do no better this morning than direct you (if you wish of course) to what I was thinking and saying seven years ago at this time.
It will be several weeks until Lady Spring actually makes an appearance in the northern landscape, but rumors of her imminent presence and the greening season persist, and every bird in the garden seems to be declaring its lofty status as a messenger from the sacred, a harbinger of abundance and new life.
Assuredly, there is blossoming in our thoughts, but the observance of this timeless festival is by necessity indoors and within. It is too cool to celebrate outside, but there will be wild salmon, a fragrant risotto, a salad of tangy spring greens and a good bottle of Chablis on the old oak table this evening. All are welcome.
Happy Ostara, Happy Spring, Happy Vernal Equinox to one and all.