Today marks 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 - it's a a pivotal astronomic point ordained by the heavens themselves, by the natural order of things in this magnificent cosmos where we live out our allotted 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 several weeks until this delicate creature blooms on our Two Hundred Acre Wood in the Lanark Highlands this year. 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 - discovering a flowering colony of bloodroot is finding treasure. Last year I discovered a whole new colony covering a sunny boulder strewn clearing deep in the woods, and I felt as rich as Croesus.
If I lived further south, today would be a day of greening and enchantment, a day when Ostara (or Eostre), the old Teutonic goddess of greening and fertility, wanders the wild places with her arms full of spring blooms, bestowing largesse and blessings on everything she sees. Flowers would spring up in her footsteps as she passed - the air would be filled with birdsong and the heady fragrance of wild springtime herbs.
Alas, there is still deep snow everywhere here. Last night I went out to the garden (and a cold going it was too) to look at the waning moon, and it seemed to me that the dear little coin of light 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 eight years ago at this time.
It will be several weeks until Lady Spring actually makes an appearance in the northern landscape this year, but rumors of her imminent presence and the arrival of the greening season persist - every bird who visits our sleeping garden seems to be declaring its lofty status as a messenger from the sacred, a harbinger of abundance and new life.
Assuredly, there is blooming in our thoughts, but the observance of this timeless festival is by necessity indoors and within. It is too cold to celebrate outside, but there will be wild salmon, risotto, a salad of tangy spring greens and a bottle of Chablis on the old oak table this evening. I shall light a candle and think of my dear friend Melanie who traveled beyond the fields we know yesterday around sunrise. I shall celebrate her life, her light and her spirit, and I shall thank her for the gift of her friendship.
Happy Ostara, Happy Spring, Happy Vernal Equinox to one and all.