The daffodils, with the wood anemone and the wild primroses, have carried us from mid to late Spring. Now, at Beltane, the tulips, the bluebells and the cowslips are the stars in our garden and meadows. Something to awaken and delight all our senses.
Everything is greening up and the pace of growth is now much increased. Nature is at its most active and oozes Physis, the life force energy, for us all to see and attuned to. Our newest hens have started laying their beautiful blue eggs. We have planted out the first crops in the potager: peas, broad beans, potatoes and beetroots. Our orchard is blossoming with the promise of fruit later in the year. The hedgerows are filling out with lush new foliage, a welcome bit of extra protection for the numerous birds that have built their nests in it. I have spotted a few adult blackbirds and robins busily darting in and out with food in their beaks, indicating that hatching has started for them.
We have two exciting bird developments that we are keeping our close eyes on at the moment. The first is a pair of pied wagtails that have made a nest in the roof of a water tower we are building. The female has just started sitting on five eggs so we look forward to chicks hatching in about 12 days time. Peter is working on setting up a little camera up there to record hatching and fledging. The second is that we have a mandarin duck sitting on a clutch of eggs in our owl box up in an old oak tree by the shepherd’s hut. Hatching there is due around 6-11 May and I have set up the wildlife camera to try and capture the amazing spectacle when hatchlings, coaxed by their mum, jump from the nest to be taken to water.
When the beginning of May arrives, nature is preparing for the abundance of Summer and the themes of fertility and conception are central to the traditional Beltane celebrations. This year, a new moon coincides with this festival too and really encourages us to use the earth’s vibrancy, fertility and high energy to discover what our soul is calling for, ignite our creativity and set our own intentions to manifest our ideas, hopes and dreams. Connecting to the Earth’s wild and free spirit energy at peak Spring and Beltane can help us rekindle our own passions and metaphorically light a fire in our belly to help us live our lives to the full. The Earth’s vitality at this point in the year can enliven us and even heal us. What will you do to connect with Physis, the life force energy, this Beltane? What are you drawn to? How will you celebrate life? Even simple things like watching the sun rise, hearing the birds sing or eating a seasonal food can help you tune in to the magic of the season.
Peter and I are going on a dawn chorus walk at a local woodland early Monday morning. I am very much looking forward to mingling with the birds as they perform their powerful, magical “hymn to the dawn” at full volume. Experiencing the dawn chorus, one of nature’s great wonders, is the perfect Beltane celebration for me and no doubt it will be worth the very early rise. I am also going to make a Beltane wreath for the front door with sprigs of rosemary to awaken the senses. Today, as a mini ritual, I infused mint, cleavers and lemon balm in water for a refreshing drink full of the goodness and vitality of springtime.
Have a beautiful Beltane and May Day weekend! May you soak up the joy of Nature and may the magic of the season blossom in you.