I’ve always grumbled about my birthday being in February. It always struck me as a gloomy, wet time to be celebrating. How much better to have a summer birthday when everyone could celebrate out in the garden or park. But last year away on retreat, I realised that the beginning of February is also the beginning of the end of my winter hibernation.
I’ve become much more aware of the seasonal cycle of my year. Staying in, reading, composting the mind during the dark-rich winter months, sat by the fire, fattening up the grey cells ready for the germination of spring. So, fittingly, my birthday also marks the birth of the year.
Obviously, the calendar beginning of Spring is at least a month away – but I was pleased to find out from Gary that the pagan calendar has a festival, Imbolc, on 2nd February, which marks the start of the end of winter. The point at which the seeds start to rattle in the frozen soil and begin their climb upwards to the sun.
So I threw the mother of all Candlemas parties with loads of fireworks and a bonfire lighting up the dark. (Including the mother of all Catherine Wheels which was a like seeing a blinding black sun burn up in my back garden for 3 minutes.) I also got every one to bring seeds and plant them for me. Symbolic – but also a nice way to get the flower beds nice and full.
Everything washed down with champagne and music. It was fierce. And clearing up the following morning in the shockingly hot sunshine, I felt that we had seeded the Spring, and I noticed how much I love clearing up mess. Slowly, listening to Nina Simone, drinking tea.
Happy Spring… it’s coming.