Today is the Spring Equinox, the point on the Wheel of the Year that marks the time when days grow longer than nights. We have left Winter behind and warmth is slowly returning to the Earth once more, awakening nature's life force with the vibrancy, aliveness and fertility of the new season of Spring. Right now, we are at the threshold into the light half of the year, when nature springs into action and prepares for growth.
Spring flowers are now blooming in the garden, from highly scented hyacinths and cheery daffodils to colourful crocuses and delicate primroses, whilst in the hedgerow the fresh green, tender leaves of hawthorn unfurl. At the wild edges of our land, the first shoots of nettles and cleavers are ready to be foraged to make into teas and tinctures. They are joined by a few clumps of pungent wild garlic here and there. In the potager, we have harvested the first few stems of rhubarb. The songbirds are pairing up and building nests, their delightful tunes punctuating the air at dawn and dusk. Lately, we have had an abundance of goldfinches and a few siskins visit the feeders, as well as the more regular chaffinches and blue and great tits. We have veg seedlings growing everywhere: heat-loving aubergines, peppers and chillies are in the potting shed on a heat mat, tomatoes are germinating in the propagator, brassicas, lettuce and onions are on trays in the polytunnel and on the windowsills of the sunroom. Our hens are laying well again and we have recently welcomed two new Araucana pullets into our little chicken flock.
Standing at the Spring Equinox, we get a glimpse into the fullness and busy-ness of the growing season to come. Sometimes, this transition out of the quiet and earthy Winter, turning plans and ideas into reality, can feel overwhelming because of all the changes and upheaval it brings. Change and the element of air associated with Spring can easily make us feel out of kilter. The slight pause at this moment of balance between dark and light on the Earth offers us a welcome opportunity to connect with a sense of balance within ourselves. It can be affirming and settling to consciously pause and take a breath before we move through to action-taking to realise our plans for the year ahead.
To help with this, I like to work with the imagery of thresholds. I have some of my favourite physical thresholds here - the metal arch with a climbing rose leading into the fruit garden, the old wooden gate into the field with the shepherd's hut, wooden steps into the potager - where I like to linger when I am in need of calm and stabilising energy. I also use a few favourite photos, postcards and magazine cuttings that I life to bring out as visual prompts for reflection on change and growth. A chunky stone gateway into a churchyard, the slab of slate into an old cottage, the cobbled entrance into the courtyard of a stately home...
The threshold is a good point of balance: standing there, we can see where we have been and where we are going. We can pause there a while to re-affirm our intentions, strengthen our resolve and stoke the fire of desire before we move on to actively embrace change, surrender to growth and welcome new beginnings. It can give us the chance to work out what we need in order to proceed with what we want to achieve. This slow and intentioned approach to change is likely to flow more easily, be more fruitful and less overwhelming as it requires us to listen to our inner voices.
The Spring Equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere, happens tonight, precisely at 9.24pm GMT. May you catch this moment of equilibrium between dark and light. May it be mirrored within yourself as a moment of balance between inner and outer.
May you move through Spring with as much ease and flow as the daffodils and the green shoots in the hedgerow.
Happy Spring Equinox, folks.