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The Sap is Stirring
“I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing robin, sing:
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.”
As Christina Rossetti muses, sometimes it begins to feel like Winter will never, ever end. With the recent storms here in the UK and devastating damage left behind by the latest, Eunice, and the aftermath of Arwen still being felt in Scotland and the North, it might seem as though Spring is still so very far off. However, in today’s newsletter I wanted to encourage you to slow down once more and engage in a spot of noticing, as nature is starting to give us sure signs that the sap - and Spring - is indeed stirring.
While there’s definitely still more than a nip in the air and even storms to contend with, things are definitely progressing below the Earth at least. Nature’s rebirth is well underway: in spite of this unpredictability the mercury is gradually rising below the surface and - if you look carefully - flowers and branches are beginning to bud. The snowdrops are appearing in clumps now, the crocuses are up in the Meadows and I’ve even seen some early daffodils. Plus it’s light now past 5 o’clock. All small but important victories after the months of cold and dark. As though nature knows.
This is a transitional time, which brings unpredictability - as nature reminds us of so well when it comes to the recent weather. However, I’ve been finding daily joy in noticing the seasons beginning to shift - little by little, day by day. Cold fingers and the sun warming your back for that first time (my favourite word, apricity); birdsong mornings and stormy evenings; getting caught in the rain (okay, sleet) with a Spring bouquet; a new dress under my Winter coat. I’m trying to savour the contradictions and the joy they can bring as there’s so much magic to be found in the in-between.
In the Celtic Wheel of the Year, we’re just a month away from the festival Ostara - otherwise known as the Vernal Equinox - when night and day are of equal length once more, signifying the balance shifting back towards longer, lighter days.
At this time of year I like to bring bulbs indoors, particularly my favourite miniature tête-à-tête daffodils, which always remind me of my Granda who loved and tended his each Spring. Once the daffodils have bloomed in a small pot inside (make sure it has good drainage) and go over, they can be planted outside for next year. The bulbs, rather cleverly, extract the energy from the flowers in anticipation of future growth and blooming, again and again. I’m thinking of sharing how to make a Spring bulb display in an upcoming newsletter, if only I can get my hands on some moss!
In the lead-up to Ostara I feel my energy levels begin to rise, as if my body has received some sort of subterranean signal to stir from hibernation once more. This is a time where I embrace decluttering, Spring cleaning like the world depends on it. There’s something so cathartic about preparing your home for Spring after a long, cold Winter. I’ve already done a charity shop run this week, with more to come.
There are so many signs of Spring to be found all around if only you look for them. And even on the darkest, dreichest days remember all the abundance to come as February turns into March and March turns into April. We’re just a few short weeks away from the abundance of bluebells and blossom. Suddenly the world will be green and glorious once more. Suddenly everything will seem possible again.
But for the moment, take your cues from nature: start preparing, let ideas and plans percolate; your time will come when it’s right to bloom. In spite of it all, the sap is indeed stirring.