Warm Enough to Dance

I spent this glorious day in the yard and gardens. I think I have been healed of several ills by that simple action–but my back is a little sore!

I had gotten a pretty hellebore before the Yuletide and it was getting sadder and sadder, living in the house. Hellebores are often blooming this time of year–either finishing up as “Christmas roses” or prepping themselves for their role as “Lenten roses.”

First, I clipped off last year’s leaves because hellebore always send new ones out when they bloom. This cleared some space for the new hellebore and it gave the baby buds some fresh air and light. The new hellebore has been firmly planted in Hellebore Land, near the gazing ball, and I am hoping it will do well.

I also had two equally sad primroses so spent some time out in the little bed outside the kitchen garden, tidying and admiring the snowdrops. I clipped back the dead peony stems, too, and planted those two primroses near another one.

Next was the slipping back of the mountain mint–a sweet-smelling job to be sure. We planted a couple of roses–one new and one a transplant. I dug three baby woad plants to give to friends and I rejoiced to see tiny leaves on all the elderberries.

The day in the garden helped me put away some of the adrenal-depleting excitement of the last few days. There was a fuel spill into a nearby creek and several of us have been nagging, pushing and cajoling our elected officials to get some information. It looks like the mess is being taken care of but it was slow and frustrating.

But I think it was a way to prepare us for more dramatic and dangerous events to come. Now we have some idea of who to contact and how to proceed and we won’t waste precious time trying to figure that out.

Yes, I know. I need to write that Tower Time piece. But just for today–I loved the Sun on my face and my feet in the soil. Bliss.

And Now Come the Drips



The deep unbroken silence of the last couple of days of thick soft snow has given way to the steady drip of icicles transforming into tiny rivers.  Who could have predicted a day as warm as this one, after those snowy ones?  It’s that queer mountain weather but we’ve had such gentle winters the last few years that we’ve forgotten the drama on late winter on the southern Highlands.

When I went out to get the snow off the cars this afternoon (or maybe late morning, I can’t recall), I wore a heavy sweater and a hat, gloves and a warm scarf.  By the middle of the afternoon, I’d lost a layer and the scarf and the gloves.

The snow still looked deep in the back yard but when you stepped on it, the bottom layer was all slush…the tracks up the driveway looked arctic and adventurous but they, too, were illusions of almost-water.  By the end of the sunshine of the day, there was a wide creek of clear water flowing down our hill, looking for passage in the old and northward river.

You could smell spring on the wind…coming on a twisty path, but not yet here.

We knew it was coming though. Sooner rather than later.

A Long Season of Imbolc



Brideog from the weekend retreat

Samhain usually seems impossibly long, mostly because there are so many things to do, so much preparation for the powerful hinge that happens as Winter descends. We grown used to it after all these years of doing public rituals and events. And when mid-November arrives, we’ve taken some time off and slept in a couple of times and are eyeing the Winter Solstice.

I prepped for Imbolc, as you know, by adapting some of the material from Alexander Carmichael’s “Carmina Gadelica.” A set of new Brigid prayers, ready for, well, for praying.

I went to the Brigid spring to nab some water and leave some love. I attended a small and powerful Brigid event at Mother Grove and created and led a public ritual the following evening.

This past weekend, a colleague and I led a Brigid retreat that was deep and rich. And tiring.

So I had a bit of a break on Monday and tried turning my thoughts towards the Vernal Equinox. But I started putting away the clouties and the Wheels. I put the candle from Kildare back in its green box and put the triple Brigid on my altar.

And what I’m thinking of doing tomorrow?  Adapting a few more of those Carmichael-collected incantations.

Nah…I don’t think Imbolc is quite finished with me yet.