There is dirt under my nails, a microcosm of minerals and organisms and organic material huddled under the crescent moons at the ends of my fingers, and I can't stop smiling.
Until this week the spring winds have been stern, not letting me get too ahead of myself in the gardens. I'm apt to wander out, dropping layers and shoes and socks and rolling up pant legs, but it's not yet that kind of temperature. I'm kept somewhat corralled by the chilly morning dew and the late afternoon breezes, but in between the dawn and dusk I find moments to get my hands in the soil, the warming earth now parting eagerly for me.
I made a fantastic error in judgement late last autumn when I hung a feeder for the birds. It was too close to one of the vegetable beds and now the fallen seed has created an oasis of grass at the end of my rows of peas. The new pea shoots are happily leaping up without hesitation and so, in order to ensure they are not choked out by sprouting birdseed, I've been on my hands and knees for a while each day pulling the unwanted grasses out one at a time. This meditation, this devotion to the growing of things (and I suppose, for the grass seeds, the killing of things) makes me feel alive again after a longer winter than I am used to. I don't mind prostrating myself before the earth and its burgeoning green. It's a holier worship than most, this bowing and bending to the land and its life.
There was such beauty to be found while the snow fell and then melted, and then came again and again right into April. I kept good company with books and warm mugs, twinkle lights and candle flames flickering, and cats snoozing on my legs. Now the cats are chewing on grasses and stalking the first bugs of the season. The frogs are awake too, rejoicing in the rains and warmer days. I can hear them a mile off from their marshy ponds. I can't think of a more beautiful chorus for this month of stirring and growth.
Dainty white and purple violets dot the yard now, they were the first blooming thing save the neighbour's forsythia and its blossoms of pure sunlight. Violet leaf and flower can be tossed into spring salads alongside young dandelion leaves, chickweed, small leaves of common mallow, cleavers, and a number of edible 'weeds' that pop up this time of year. My favourite way to bless myself with violet is topically, and I wilt the flowers and then infuse them in oil for a lymph massage rub, as well as create balms with them for skin healing.
I've begun to harvest the first dandelion flowers too, which makes me giddy. I left the inaugural blooms for the bees but when the mass flowering began, weaving yellow brick roads all through the property, I began to pick and dry flowers daily for teas and oils. There will be dandelion flower syrup soon too. I'm near faint at the thought of that heady liquid on my tongue.
The perennial flower bed, which houses long-established plants as well as new herbal additions, has finally been weeded, amended and blessed. There is a corner that has always had a very fae element to it - no matter what I planted there it would thrive as long as fairly consistent offerings were left on the earth. Plants that had no business in half shade and moist soil became glorious beasts and flowered profusely in that spot. I've been negligent of that strange corner for the past two seasons, forgetting the wine, whiskey, or homemade cookie offerings. Unsurprisingly, the forget-me-nots I loved so deeply disappeared and the delphinium faltered and never returned. I spent some time leaving offerings there last week and I reset the small altar. I'm hopeful for a resurrection of lushness and life in that area.
On the last night of April (Walpurgisnacht, for some) after my own revels indoors and out, I awoke in the night to the patter of rain on the roof. I wandered into it, that early May morn shower, feeling grateful for the moisture that my land is lacking at the moment. I returned to bed after being blessed by the sudden storm, and dreamed of devils and carousing with beasts around balefires.
April was all dizzying weather, shooting stars, and woodsmoke on the wind. I found magic in the visits of coyotes and mysterious gifts unearthed in the garden, among the daily whispering of my land and spirits. May has brought with it warm winds and summer-like weather, the trees and flowers that were biding their time for sunnier days have all burst open, leaf and bloom.
I hope you've weathered your first calendar months well. I'm awake and rejoicing now, but gods I loved the long, quiet winter this year. All of this brightness, birdsong, and lushness is almost over-extravagant and I find myself wishing for rain, not just because the land needs it but because I'd not be unhappy to have another afternoon to curl up inside with a book and some tea. But we walk into each season, open to whatever comes, knowing that despite the changing world around us, we can at least do good work wherever we are. On our land, in our communities, and within our homes and magical practices.
Welcome May and Beltane season! Welcome herbs and flowers and new leafy greens! Welcome warm, starry nights and kisses by campfires and lake shores! Cheers to our awakening!