Imbolc, the half-way point in the Wheel of the Year between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, is nearly here and Nature is stirring... Waking up from its Winter sleep, it is preparing for Spring and the start of the growing season.
Here on our smallholding, the broad beans sown in November have germinated and are sprouting up from the soil. The garlic too. The rhubarb is growing again. There are dainty snowdrops emerging victoriously after Winter. Daffodils are also popping up through the ground here and there. The many bulbs I planted in pots in the Autumn are now coming through, promising an abundant display of crocuses, narcissi and tulips to add colour around. Green shoots are beginning to pierce through the branches of some trees. Birds are singing more and more too... the sparrows by our bedroom window singing with renewed energy, signalling both the beginning of each day and the stirrings of a new season. Our ewes are - hopefully - in lamb. Each day, darkness falls noticeably later now.
It will be a while before we start to sow seeds - we're not out of the woods yet weatherwise! It is an exciting time and the desire to get going with seeds, propagators, compost etc is strong but it would be premature to act upon it. There is no hurry and it is better to use this new vitality and renewed energy to prepare for when the time is right. We are still cutting back some of the dead growth of last season, clearing leaves and moss away to de-clutter the ground and make space for new growth.
Imbolc, Nature's expectant time when the first signs of new life are beginning to show, a gentle sense that Winter is passing, a time of hope and life-force stirring brought on by the strengthening Sun... an awakening of the Earth that reminds us of hidden potential and promise.