Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

It has finally arrived! Spring is here and I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. Winter is fading into the shadows. My heart and spirit are light and my mind is rolling through all of the plans, ideas and dreams for my garden. I am spending the day planting the seeds of new beginnings, letting go of the past year, the past harsh Winter, emerging from my cocoon and letting the wings of my spirit flap in the gentle warming breeze.

My altar is decked in fresh cut flowers, forsythia branches in bloom, seed packets, beautifully painted eggs in a birds nest, floral scented candles, bunnies, a flower fairy, and all the needed items for a bit of Ostara magic later today. I have brought all the items I need to plant my seeds today and to transplant a few houseplants to my kitchen to do a bit of indoor gardening. Hard-boiled eggs are awaiting some decorating. I have a lovely dinner planned - a quiche, some fresh greens tossed in a light herbal and citrus vinaigrette, and some treats for dessert. The music is on, the candles are lit, and the whole house smells like, sounds like, feels like Spring.

I've been out in the garden this morning and Spring has most definitely sprung. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and day lilies are breaking the ground. The forsythia is beginning to bloom. The buds on the lilac are swelling. A few trees have started to show small bursts of green. The birds are dancing around the feeders and checking out the nesting huts I have hung for them. Robins are pecking at the thawed ground hunting for juicy worms. The squirrels are busily nibbling on the bits of apples and nuts I put out for them this morning. Maybe even our resident groundhog will make an appearance today! My little part of the world has awakened and come alive!

Tonight, we'll eat, drink, make merry, and release wishes for new beginnings into the Spring breeze and send out blessings over the garden for the coming growing season. We'll welcome all our feathered and furried friends back for another year and send out callings to those we wish to grace us with their presence. We'll give thanks to Mother Earth for making it through an extremely harsh Winter and for being granted the return of lengthening warmer days, for the beauty, wonder and magic of Spring.

Oh joy! Spring has sprung! I wish you all a blessed, beautiful and magical Ostara!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's So Green In Here

My son walked in after school on Tuesday, a long-awaited forecasted 65-degree day, and looked around. "It's so green in here! Why is it so green in here?" he asked. I asked for some clarification. "It's like Spring in here!" He seemed disgruntled. "It's just all bright colors and flowers and stuff. I don't like it," he announced. Of course he wouldn't. He's 16 and spends much of his time upstairs in his hobbit hole, coming out only for food, showers and occasional human contact. (Even my niece, the sweetest of peas, with all the knowledge of her nearly one-year old life experience knows to look up the steps when you ask her where her cousin is!) So I expected the reaction from him, but even though he was all "dark and brooding" about it, that one sentence - "It's so green in here." - made me grin from ear-to-ear. After all, that was the point!

It's been a really brutal Winter for many of us. For me, the gardener, it was exceptionally brutal because all I have wanted to do for months was to get back outside and get gardening again. So, when the mercury started climbing over 50 this past weekend, I sprang into action. It was just a bit of sweeping, cleaning and refilling bird feeders and baths, a little nudging around in the mulch to see what, if anything, was happening under there. The ground was rock hard, still frozen, so imagine my surprise when I saw the beginnings of hostas and daylilies pushing up through the dirt. I broke out into my little "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" happy dance, right there in the garden, and then covered them back up carefully, just in case cold weather returned. It wasn't time to uncover them just yet. The rest of the weekend went by, warm and sunshiny, and I would step out into the garden occasionally just to be there for a few minutes and to attempt putting a trowel into the soil. No go! It just didn't seem like the ground would thaw.

Monday rolled around and again another warm day dawned. This time we went into the 60's. Again I headed outside for the trowel test. This time there was a slight give, just about an inch or so. My spirit did leaps of joy. Soon, very soon, that trowel would slip right in, plunging deeper into that silky earth. With this knowledge in my heart, I decided that it was time to bring Spring into the house as soon as possible. As my hubby worked on a few small home repair projects, I set about putting the last of Winter into boxes for the basement and beginning the Spring decorating. I started with my altar, as I always do. Because my altar is at what I feel is the heart of my home, I feel that beginning the process here allows the feelings, intentions and magic I am trying to create for the coming season to radiate out into the whole house. As I did this, my spirit felt lighter, the room felt larger and roomier, and my whole home seemed to smile and sigh with satisfaction. Exactly! I then reveled in putting up the brighter colored table runners, the flowered garlands, and floral-scented candles. In the hour or so before going to bed, I dabbled in making a garland of my own using pieces of old ones but it just wasn't working out for some reason. (So frustrating!) I turned in that night with visions of growing flowers, budding trees, and dancing garden faeries.

Then Tuesday came with its brilliant sunshine and its 65 degrees! Forsythia branches were gathered and placed around the house, especially on my altar, to be forced into blooming. That trowel of mine went about 4 inches into the soil. Another happy dance ensued! Out came the Spring patio and yard decor - hanging baskets to be filled with bright trailing flowers, small bird baths and butterfly feeding stations, and an outdoor candle or two. While the Juncos, cardinals, wrens, chickadees, and finches flew in and out of the feeders, all singing songs of Spring, I sat on the patio for a few minutes jotting down notes for an outdoor celebration of the upcoming Full Moon, planning on "filling" my life with the new beginnings that Spring offers. The rest of my day was spent putting the finishing touches on the indoor Spring decorations. At about 3:15, my son walked in. "It's so green in here".

That's what it's all about, isn't it? Spring brings rebirth, reawakenings, new life, new possibilities, the return of joyful green to replace the cold gray. It makes us feel lighter, happier, like we made it through the darkness to that light at the end of the tunnel. Today, I am hovering right at the end of that tunnel. It's a really cold day, plummeting from 69 yesterday to 20 this morning, with a morning wind chill of 3 degrees. It's not supposed to last very long. Tomorrow we'll be back around 50. Mother Nature is now in what I call Her "Yo-Yo Phase", where She's not quite sure if Winter should end quite yet but allows a few tastes of Spring here and there. That's okay though. I know what's coming. The ground is beginning to thaw. The birds are returning. The buds of trees, shrubs and flowers are beginning to swell. Most of's so green in here!