The lady across the street was throwing bread crusts out for the birds and the gulls and crows wheeled in circles, swooping in, flying high, landing on her roof, then mine all the time calling their distinct calls. The adult gulls are getting their clean white feathered heads that they get going into breeding season, leaving the feathers of winter behind. Signs of the passing of winter and the coming of spring.
It’s funny that the lady across the street should choose this day of all days to feed the birds, for I have never seen her do so before. (Well unless you count the fact that her cat’s food, which is kept on her porch gets raided by the starlings from time to time.) In some traditions and cultures this day is a day to celebrate, and one such way to celebrate this day is to leave an offering of food or milk for animals. We did this by filling up our bird feeders again for the first time in a long time and to use the idea of milk, once I pick some more up from the store, our kitties will get a special treat. One of my cats will be especially happy about this, she would worship cows if she knew they were the source of her most favorite treat.
Leaving offerings for the creatures of nature is just one way to celebrate today. Today is Imbolc, the half way point between winter and spring and another thing we will be doing today is burning our old paper snowflakes to usher winter out. And in the coming days we’ll be walking in our neighborhood and parks and continue looking for signs of spring, which are already beginning to unfold.
Another ancient concept for this day has to do with a burning flame, often connected to the goddess Brigid or later St. Brigid and in the catholic Candlemas, the virgin Mary. Since I tend to look at things in relation to nature more, for me this is a time where the sun grows even stronger and the light it brings ushers in new life and the creative forces of nature. I celebrated this yesterday by letting my own inner creative flame inspire a bit of painting.
I call this piece ‘Almost Spring’. Where the sky is a kaleidescope of blues, the hills are a patchwork of new greens, yet the oak tree, one of the last trees in our area to leaf out, still seems to slumber, waiting patiently for it’s time to unfold new leaves and join in the symphony of new growth and birds singing their spring songs. A girl in her spring colored dress hugs the quiet oak, urging it to wake and at the same time drawing strength from it to wait patiently for the Equinox and all that it will bring.
Happy Almost Spring, dear readers.