The Promise of Spring–Oh, Joy!


Today is a special day, what is known as a cross-quarter day on the solar calendar, as February 2nd marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It sounds promising, does it not? This day was marked by the ancient Irish as Imbolc, also known as St. Brigid’s Day, and later by the Christians as Candlemas, so the day holds a special place in many traditions.

So the skies rumbled and the snows came,
And everywhere down through the centuries of this gray night,
Came women gathering to pray,
And to sink their hands into the dark earth.
They gathered seeds and prepared them for planting,
They meditated in the icy darkness,
And they celebrated the lambing of the first ewe,
To hasten Spring.
And when through the earth they felt the stirring,
They sang songs encouraging the tiny seeds to grow.
In the dark, wet soil you can smell their work still;
They are digging along beside us,
The north wind carries their song across the snow,
This Imbolc night.
As the earth prepares for Spring,
Wise women gather in circles to await the promise of new life,
And to sing praises for the green earth.
And so do we, here now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Imbolc!

–Jill Yarnall

On a more mundane level we watched today to see if a groundhog would view his shadow on this day, forecasting a full six more weeks of winter. I think we pretty much knew how that would turn out. Interestingly, in previous centuries folks were pondering, at this time of year, about who might be coming out of hibernation, and, I must confess, I found myself wondering this last week if local rattlesnakes have begun to emerge yet or not. I think with the recent snows they will be largely discouraged.

I also noticed that as I’ve been walking the dogs in the rain I’ve been very replenished by the sheer sight of the yellow crocuses popping up next to the sidewalk in front of my neighbor’s house (I say hello to them every morning accompanied by a big smile) and by the tulips emerging from pots on my front steps. I took my camera (yes, the 35 mm, don’t laugh) out to seek further signs of life pushing itself out into the open in spite of snow and rain and cold and darkness. Life will not be held back, my friends. Not at all.


Precious little daffodils. I can hardly wait to see their happy yellow faces!

Speaking of which I think it’s a fine time to let you know that I’ve decided to go ahead independently with the publishing of my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden this year. The imprint has been decided. It is Estrella Catarina. Please stay tuned for further details as they emerge.

budding quince

Life abounds, life abounds, life abounds. Enjoy!

Love and blessings,
Kathryn xox

18 Responses to “The Promise of Spring–Oh, Joy!”

  1. HUGE congrats on the decision to publish your long overdue book. BRAVO!!!

    Now, THAT‘S what I call a celebration of Spring!!

    Aloha, p.

  2. Thanks, Sistah Pamela! 🙂 Yes, you would appreciate the birth of this book, having watched a goodly portion of the pregnancy! Thanks for your well wishes!

    Kathryn xoxo

  3. In Japan, it is also setsubun, the eve of spring and the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. I wrote a very similar celebration of this special day which marks the turning point in winter on my blog today, too. Nice to see someone else with a more customs from other lands.

  4. I love your blog name. It’s great that you are going ahead with publishing your book with the same name.

    What I wouldn’t give to see some crocuses, tulips and daffodils emerging right about now.

    I didn’t know that Saint Brigid’s Day was today – nor did I know the significance of it. Thanks for this … and for the beautiful poem.

  5. Dear MSS: Welcome! I have visited your blog in Austin! Yes, we were really on the same wave length today! Lucky you to be enjoying 70 degree temps in your garden this weekend! Thank you for visiting!
    Kathryn xox

  6. Welcome, Kate! Thank you for the good wishes! Yes, I know you are further north and that bulbs will be a bit later in your neck of the woods. But I know you keep blossoms in your home to keep you going! We find our own creative way through this dark, cold time, don’t we? Thank you for visiting!
    Kathryn xox

  7. Congrats on publishing the book. One can say it is truly spring when the daffodils bloom.

  8. Welcome, Curtis! Thank you! I fear that in CA those daffodils will take their cue from the next week, in which we are finally to get some sun after weeks of rain, and that’s that. I won’t count on spring until March, when I can finally get some new seeds in the ground! Where are you? Kathryn

  9. Yes, life abounds. There is so much to see in the spring. I’m in zone 5 so no daffodils yet, but it won’t be long.

    Best wishes with your book, it sounds very interesting.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  10. Good morning, Carol! Thank you so much for visiting. It’s good to see you here. Yes, we are all like brooding hens waiting for our little chicklin’s to hatch, aren’t we? I know you’ve written about that certain planting itch and what to do about it! Kathryn xox

  11. GOOD FOR YOU on publishing your book. I’m sure it will do very well, especially with loyal blog readers who must collect books…;-)

  12. Thank you so much, Jodi, for those kind words!

  13. Good for you, Kathryn. I really enjoyed this post about St. Brigid’s Day and every other celebration of this day. Wednesday, we start Lent, and it comes too soon for me this year. Nothing blooming here yet, but I took a walk today an noticed a lot of green weeds in the lower pasture.~~Dee

  14. Thanks, Dee! Welcome! I look forward to seeing your Lenten post.
    Kathryn xox

  15. What a sweet post and I love the little garden angel.

  16. Hi, Lisa, I visited your blog. You are HANDY! Lovely work. NIce to see. I learned embroidery as a little girl the old fashioned way from my Grandmother. (Maybe I will post about this one day. Thanks for the inspiration!) Kathryn

  17. Just catching up, some daffodils are blooming, more to come. So rewarding. Did I miss something about embroidery? I have a sampler my mother made for me that I see every morning. I always think about it at the end of the day. It is so my mother.

    Count the day lost
    Whose low descending sun
    Views from thy hand
    No worthy action done.

  18. Hi, Marjorie! Good to see you here! Yes, aren’t the daffodils wonderful?? I don’t know what the embroidery reference is. I have a large embroidery of my grandmother’s in my kitchen! They do help us stay connected, don’t they? Lovely verse. Kathryn xox

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