Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrate the First Day of Spring

Image source

Signed etching by Isabel Saul

Froudian creatures by Wendy Froud enjoying the daffodils.

LinkA field of daffodils from the movie Big Fish.

It's the first day of spring! Here in Ohio, and apparently in many other places as well, spring came early as temperatures rose to the mid-60s to mid-70s two weeks ago. As I drove to work this morning, I noticed all the daffodils in bloom (they began opening a few days ago). The Hellebore in front of my house has exploded with large saucer-size dark purple blooms, and the bushes behind the library are dotted with pink buds. The Forsythia in the neighborhood is a tumble of yellow, and my lilac has begun to bud with green. Spring seems to know that today is a special occasion, and she twirls her earthen skirt for all to see, with a flash of pink here and yellow there.

Last year, in my first warm months as a home owner, I discovered quite quickly that I absolutely adore gardening. Therefore, in advanced warning, my posts will become more and more garden-centric as the weather warms and the yard beckons. But after all, there is very little quite as mythic as a garden.

So, spring has sprung! To celebrate, here are a few ideas...

-Grow something from seeds.

This year, I am trying this for the first time since I was a little girl with a styrofoam cup and a trowel of dirt. Three days ago I bought a seed-starting plastic terrarium and planted 30 Hollyhock seeds, and 6 Morning Glory seeds. Now the little divisions of dirt are sitting in a south-facing window, and all I can do is keep the soil moist and wait. I am exceedingly excited to see the seedlings make their way from the potting mixture and grow into small plantlings large enough to replant outside.

For a lover of magic and myth, there is an added step to the process beyond impressing a hole, dropping in seeds and watering the soil. I would advise you also ask the faeries and/or spirits of your home to watch over the plants and flowers you are growing from seed. Green and growing things are kin to fey, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask them to add their energy and enthusiasm to the growing process. Surround your seed pots with crystals and other enticing objects, and be sure to express your appreciation for any help they can provide. (But of course, do not thank them...one must never thank a faerie)

-Cut a few daffodils and bring them inside.

If you have daffodils in your yard, even if they have only begun to bloom, cut one or two of them to bring inside to celebrate the first day of spring. If you don't have daffodils, try to find something that has begun growing and tend to it in its own space. Talk to it, clear the weeds and crumbled leaves from around it. Focus on the beauty of new life in spring.

-Plan your garden even if you can't yet plant your garden

Even the most experienced of gardeners know that there is new planning to be done every year. If you live in an apartment, think of what herbs you could plant in a windowsill. If you live in a basement apartment with no natural light at all, try succulents, cactus, or imagine ways you can infuse a touch of plant life into your decor (painted vines? A large garden artwork?) Or if you have a home, think of a few new areas where the earth can be tilled for new flower beds.

-Create a seasonal space in your home

We've seen Bryony's beautiful example of a seasonal mantle above her living room fireplace. Set aside a space in your home to celebrate the beauty of the current season. Blow the yolks from eggs and decorate them with natural dyes or paint. Add the daffodils you picked. Find whatever it is that makes you smile about the current season, and celebrate it.

And it should go without saying...take down those dried and browning evergreen boughs. ;)

-Open a window

There are so many symbolic ways to freshen up your house for spring (and I hope to talk about Domythic spring cleaning soon), but there is no easier way to literally give your home a breath of fresh air than to open up a few windows. Let the sheers billow out in the breeze coming from the back yard. Watch your cat as he sniffs the air with his eyes closed from the windowsill.

-Buy one new thing for your house

If, like me, you have a tendency to prefer jewel tones and dark colours, try to buy one new thing for your house to lighten it up. This could just mean buying a tulip in a pot for your windowsill (yes, plants again) or a throw pillow with Art Nouveau flowers on it. I'm currently searching for a new bed set to put on our bed in warmer months that will be more cheerful and light.

-Hang windchimes

I know not everyone feels this way, but I absolutely love the sound of windchimes. Their merry tinkle (or as I prefer it, deep and resonant gong) signifies that weather is warming and spring is here. There is no ancient lore to back up this idea, but I do believe the faeries are drawn to windchimes as well. In our old apartment, I painted a faerie by our patio door named Saoirse who held chimes in her hand. Every time the chimes on our patio would sound, we knew Saoirse was making herself known.

-Clean up your faerie spaces

If you have any circles of pebbles in your flower beds devoted to the faeries, or beds of moss where they especially like to lie, clean them up. Straighten any stones that might have been moved aside in the cold months. Reaffix the tiny wooden doors to the bases of the trees where they reside. Faeries may not hibernate, but they certainly rejoice in the return of spring as we do, and deserve our celebration and acknowledgement.

There are so many more ways to celebrate spring and the return of warm weather and longer daylight hours. Go for a walk, play a beautiful song through the open window while you sit on your patio or porch, start a new artistic project in celebration of all the creation and new life around you. It all boils down to this: whatever you do, don't go through life, or this changing season, with your eyes closed to the beauty of the world and the miracle of your every day.

Oh, and buy The Muppets.

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