The vernal equinox – the first day of spring – occurs when the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun, with the center of the Sun in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. Night and day are almost equal on this date. Pagans celebrating Ostara, the fertility goddess, welcome the coming of spring with rituals symbolizing rebirth (from which arose Easter, bunnies, and decorating eggs).
Spring has sprung early – although since this is our first year up here, I don’t know if it’s all that early. After a wet December and dry, cold January, the last weeks have brought the first stirrings of the sun’s energy in the soil, the first buds on the trees, first blooms poking up out of the ground. It’s been a thrill not only to plan and plant vegetables, fruits, and flowers in our garden, but also to see what comes up on its own – treasured surprises. More gifts: twittering house finches and goldfinches flitting about their nests in our ceanothus. We got a “present” tomato in our old compost pile before we moved from our San Francisco apartment, and I coddled the small stalk in our kitchen up in Sonoma County. It grew 2 feet in 2 weeks at one point. Now we’re ready to plant it and others outside. Such rapture, smelling the leaves alone, so redolent of the tomato’s fresh, rich scent!
Thinking of how my mom herself was enraptured at the change of the seasons, her weeping cherry and tulip tree draped with blossoms, I can’t help but take a breath of the warming air and be thankful for this life. Now we celebrate the day overcoming the night. Now, to let the flora speak for itself: