Unsuccessfully, I meant to post something in time for Imbolg (or Candlemas), which fell on 2/2, also known as Groundhog Day. This holiday marks the beginning of spring’s stirrings in the ground, of the first quickening of seeds and plant life, buried in the frozen soil and now awakening with the warmth of the sun. It also marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. Celebrating the Celtic goddess Brigid in her fertile aspect, Imbolg’s different traditions may have originated the weather divination involved in Groundhog Day: a Scots Gaelic tradition observes serpents or badgers emerging from their holes, and also believes a divine crone or hag goes out to gather firewood – sometimes making the day’s weather good in order to gather plenty of firewood for a long winter.
Here in our new home in Sonoma County, we’ve been fortunate with gorgeous sunny weather, allowing us to explore the local area. The lengthening days have lifted our spirits, and also have allowed us to start considering our yard, starting a few greens and beets, and finishing the walnut gathering. Now we ponder what to plant once the frosts have passed and the soil warms up.
A spacious, sunny backyard gives us opportunity for many different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and perhaps even some friends from the animal kingdom: our neighbors have chickens and some even keep bees, a long-held fantasy of mine. One thing at a time! Slow consideration and planning will let us carefully monitor what’s working well in our wonderful new place.