Here in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, March begins in rain.
And in snow.
Yesterday I counted three kinds of snowflakes: big, fat, fluffy ones; thin watery ones; and hard pellets of hail.
Today I woke to a chickadee’s call.
I hear a faint whisper: “Persephone returns!”
They say that in Seattle (a hundred miles to the south), the salmonberry is in bloom, snowberry is leafing out, and the yellow lanterns of skunk cabbage are rising from the primordial mud. On the island, I’m told, the red-flowering currant is beginning to blossom.
But not here.
So yesterday I went to the woods in search of Spring.
Bright green moss.
Osoberry leaves unfurling.
And a vernal pool.
But no skunk cabbage. No trillium. No red-flowering currant.
Perhaps Spring will arrive another day.
At home, a hot mug of tea at hand, I pulled down an old book of folk tales I’ve had since I was a little girl. This book, “Folk Tales Children Love,” must be over 50 years old.
I turned the page, and I found this:
It’s the story of Spring, and how She was late one year, and the children stopped coming to the woods to look for Her. So she asked each woodland animal in turn to go tell the children She had come. It was Bunny who took the baskets of soft grass and colored eggs and hid them by the children’s doorsteps, so they would know Spring arrived.
I think this image of Ostara, the Lady of Spring, must have been imprinted on me at age 4 or 5! No wonder I grew up to love the Lady.
Then I turned to the flyleaf, and I saw this:
I had given the book to my own beloved son, and he had claimed it for his own.
And so, in these early days of March, we await the return of Lady Spring.
And, in the meantime . . . it rains.
Photographs by Joanna, taken 3.4.12. Sketches are from my nature journal pages, 1999-present. Book pages are from “Folk Tales Children Love,” by Watty Piper, Platt & Munk, first published in 1932. I have the 1955 edition.
Wednesday March 6, 2013 is the last day for the early bird price on my e-course, Gaian Soul Practices for Spring, that starts next Sunday the 10th.
In this session, we will emphasize nature journaling (with camera, drawing, and/or writing), on finding a “secret spot” outside, and closely observing the seasonal changes in your own (proverbial) back yard. (Not unlike the story I just shared with you!)
We’re also going to study some of the Maiden Goddesses and Goddesses of Spring, along with the myths of the dying and resurrected gods who were precursors to the Christian story we all know so well.
As always, there are art projects, nature practices, spiritual practices, and journaling prompts that arrive in your inbox each day.
If you’ve ever longed to experience the archetypal season of rebirth and resurrection in a mindful, creative, nature-based way — this may be the course for you.
I’d love to have you join me and a warm circle of lovely souls who have already gathered to walk this path together.
All the details are here.