• Tag Archives spring
  • Pulses

    Spring                                               Mountain Spring Moon

    Under the mountain spring moon various shades of green have slowly, slowly begun to appear. The ponderosa pines have been green all winter but they’ve greened up some. The first ground cover green to appear was the bearberry when the snow melted back. This evergreen ground cover was green all along, just hidden. A shaded patch of moss has gone from a muted pale green to emerald over the last couple of weeks. There are, too, even here at 8,800 feet, dandelions. Some grass, too. Crab grass for sure, another hardy perennial. Tufts of grass that look like prairie drop seed, but are not, I’m sure, remain their winter tan.

    Too, the dogs have begun to sniff through the deck, smelling, I suppose, new rodents of some kind. Along with that has come Rigel digging. With the advent of warmer soil Rigel and Vega may begin creating holes in the rest of the yard as well. Another harbinger of spring.

    Birds chirp happily around 5:30-5:45 am as the sun begins to rise.

    Driving along Highway 78 (Shadow Mountain Drive, Black Mountain Drive (our segment) and Brook Forest Road) the only snow that remains is on the north side of the road or in shaded spots. A pond not far from our house still has ice, but the ice has a shallow layer of water over it. The mountain streams run, burble, ice now long melted and turned into stream. Willows along the streams look fire tipped as their branches turn a green gold. “Like dusted with gold,” Kate said.

    The mountain spring is a slow arriver, coming in pulses, alternated with sometimes heavy snows. We have the potential, for example, for a huge snow storm Wednesday through Friday.

    While on a drive Sunday, not far from our home, on top of a large outcropping of rock where the sun penetrated the trees, lay a fox, curled up and enjoying a quiet Sunday nap. The fox was a tan spot against the gray of the rock. Mule deer have begun to return as well, we see them at various places along the slopes and valleys. Kate just called and said, for example, that we have four deer in our front yard and “the dogs are levitating.” Sure enough, there they are, finding the green just as I have been.

  • In Spite of the Evidence on the Ground, the Sky Says It’s Spring

    Spring                                                                 Bloodroot Moon

    I’m beginning to wonder whether I misnamed this moon.  Not sure the bloodroot’s gonna bloom before it wanes.  16 degrees out now, headed down to 2 tonight.  Average daily high now 40 degrees.  But, in terms of astronomical events today is the day we shift past the  the celestial mid-point and the celestial equator. (see illustration)

    That makes spring the formal designation.  Meteorological spring began on March 1st, but I follow the stars as does the Great Wheel.  The Vernal Equinox has a long tradition as not only the start of spring, but of the new year.  It lost its spot as the New Year in 18th century England, 1752 to be exact, when Lady Day, March 25th (a fixed date to celebrate the coming of spring and the new year and the feast of the annunciation), lost its New Year’s Day status to January 1st as the Gregorian calendar reforms began.

    Today neither meteorological spring nor astronomical spring puts us in that season.  The weather is not co-operating with the calendar in either instance.  There’s a lesson here.  Rules, no matter how precise, or how ancient, no matter how usually reliable or hoaried with veneration, can never overcome, as the military says, the facts on the ground.

    The lesson of the Great Wheel will, however, grind its way toward truth.  At some point the winds will shift.  The cold air will retreat back to the North Pole.  The snow will melt and the grass will green, flowers bloom and children ride their bikes in the streets.

    Even though today doesn’t shout out verdant or shorts and t-shirts the vitality of Mother Earth is only delayed, not denied.  When we use the seasons as a metaphor for human life, we can imagine that we have passed the spring time of our lives.  This is not so.  Our bodies, yes, they continue on, hammered by entropy, drawn back toward the earth by the gravity of our years, but our soul, or whatever that mysterious piece of us is that hovers in and around that body, renews itself over and over.

    Take down a new book.  Pick up a hammer, or a carving tool, or lines of computer code.  Perhaps a paint brush or a blank page.  Visit the grandkids or an old friend or make a new friend.  The sparks of love and creativity in our lives can rejuvenate us over and over again, turning a winter, even one that seems determined to stay too long, into a springtime.  Those seeds you planted when you were twenty, but forgot to water?  Remember them.  This is their season.  Wake them up.

  • This, that

    Imbolc                                                                        Valentine Moon

    The snow remains.  16 as I woke up this morning.  There will be no early spring this year.  And I’m grateful for that.  I’m not ready to get out and do serious gardening.  Not yet.  I’ve got books to write.  Latin to translate.  Rooms to clear before I sleep.

    A bit of pruning, yeh.  That’s the right stuff for this season.

    Went with Kate to her annual physical so we could then go on to Chanhassen and have lunch with Anne, her sister.  She turns 64 this year.

    A long day.  Chanhassen lies almost 45 minutes to the south though it’s well within the metro area.  We often drive distances within the metro that would have required real planning when I was a kid.  A difference in perception and habits.

  • The Devil’s Weather

    Imbolc                                                                      Cold Moon

    It is these middling days, when the sun shines and water melts off the roof, these days when the natural order seems poised for a sudden change, that make me want to hide deep in a bunker coming out only for true deep winter, May and the crisp days of fall whenever they might come.  A weather purist me.  I want a fall with blues that make you want to disappear into the sky, chill winds, golden leaves.  I want winters with crunchy snow, temperatures that curl your hair and winds that howl all night.  I like, too, those brief moments when the earth discovers growth again, when plants, leaves and flowers ascramble with color, fling themselves out of the ground, eager for food and light.  The rest, those dreary drippy days of mud and slush can go to the devil, whom I’m sure invented such weather as a metaphor for our usual approach to values.  Give me weather with a knife edge or the shocking beauty of a pre-Raphaelite painter.  That’s what would get me out of my bunker.  For the rest, bah.

  • Spring Cleaning

    Spring                                                   Bee Hiving Moon

    The so-warm March got folks cranked up about the garden, but this is Minnesota.  Our last frost date is still May 15th, six weeks away.  It’s no time for annuals.

    (where we’re headed  2010 harvest)

    Kate and I have started peeling away leaves, dead branches and stems, prepping our various beds for the warmer weather ahead.  None of what we uncover is frost sensitive.

    I spent time moving limbs I had pruned in the colder weather, raking mulch off our onions and garlic and getting the planting plan for 2012 down.  We’ve decided to focus this year on crops that we put up or store for the winter:  beets, onions, garlic, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, kale, chard, collard greens.  We’ll also put in some herbs and some peppers and some sugar snap peas, but those we’ll use during the season.

    Working in the garden, a tactile spirituality, balances out the indoor heavy lifting that has occupied–and tends to dominate–the winter season.  It feels good to be engaged again.


  • Spring 2012: Were You Around for It?

    Imbolc                                                      Woodpecker Moon

    Spring.  Whoa!  A season that came and went on the day of its inauguration.  A high of 79 here yesterday.  79!

    Yes, that’s right, it’s the Spring Equinox again, we’ve reached that point halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice, the time when light begins to dominate in the division between night and day.

    Bruce Watson and his son, local weather geeks, publish an annual meteorological calender with lots of nifty data.  Just pulled it out for grins and looked up the Summer Solstice, that’s right, exactly three months from now–IN JUNE–and checked out the average 30 year high for June 20th.  Yep.  79.5.  Now wow.

    However the season came and went this year, I’ll always remember spring as a spunky little season that used to hang around and tease with gentle breezes one minute and foot-high drifts the next.  We don’t need to get all weepy, but those were good springs weren’t they?  Hockey and blizzards, they just sort of go together.

    Not this year.  Nope, it’s a couple a rounds and a Bud at the 19th Hole.  Outside.

    Ostara in the pagan calendar, this holiday nods toward the fertility spring carries in its changeable weather. Continue reading  Post ID 30594

  • A Year of No Winter, Now With No Spring?

    Imbolc                                         Woodpecker Moon

    OK.  So, there was this place that used to have winter but had it replaced by a season of cloudy skies and what passes for cold in the southern states.  Then, that season ended and summer began.  Minnesota 2011-2012

    Not kidding.  It’s 60 degrees here today, March 11th.  And this doesn’t seem to be an aberration, the temps go like this for highs:  59, 65, 70, 67, 68.  And that gets us through Friday.  It may throw the bee season into a conundrum since my package bees don’t arrive until mid-April and the bloom cycle could be accelerated by as much as a month.

    This is also a year when I didn’t start any vegetables.  Not a one.  We moved the hydroponics into the garage for storage so we could consolidate the dog crates in one place. I imagine the places I buy plants will have used the same calendar as usual and we could waste a month or so of available warmer weather.  In other words we could have a growing season up to 6 weeks longer than normal.  But we’re not ready for it and won’t be.

    The Great Wheel continues to turn, but the holidays may usher in different weather than usual.  Climate change is well under way.  I hope the climate change deniers have a ringside seat in hell to the catastrophe they’ve created.  I know, that sounds extreme, but I mean it.

    The deniers will not and never could change the basic science behind global warming, all they could ever do was slow down humanity’s response to it, a slowing down that amounts to a criminal act, a felony against generations yet to be born.  They need to be held responsible for their greedy, stupid, infantile actions.

    But they probably won’t be.  They’ll die off before the worst of it hits.  That’s why I hope hell has a special viewing room for these shrunken souls.

    Would you like me to tell you what I really believe?

  • A Year of Two Springs

    Fall                                                  Full Autumn Moon

    A cool rain and a chilly fall evening with wet gold stuck to the bricks and asphalt, a low cloud cover and darkening twilight skies.

    Though ready to travel there is a sadness in missing the rest of fall, the transition from this still part summer, part cooler season time to the bleaker, barren time of November.  It is a favorite season, the continuing turn toward the Winter Solstice.

    We will leave it behind, first for the warmer, much warmer Western Caribbean, then sweaty Panama and hot Ecuador.  As we move south, we move into spring with milder temperatures, then, in southern Chile among the fjords and glaciers and around Cape Horn, the southern equivalent of the far north, where temperatures will be cooler.  So, for us, 2011 will be a year of two springs.

    And, a shortened fall.

    Meanwhile, Mark in Ha’il, Saudi Arabia faces 97 as a typical daytime high.  Gotta wonder what global warming has in store for the desert kingdom.  Sort of the old petrocarbons coming home to roost.

  • A Northern Spring

    Beltane                                                              Waxing Last Frost Moon

    This northern spring, a season all its own, as is the northern summer, has turned cold and wet.  Again.  The cold weather vegetables have had a near perfect early growing season.  This combination of occasional heat followed by cold and rainy days marks the uncertainty, the ambiguity of our spring, often a time when the weather is neither this nor that, a variety.

    Later,  in another three to four weeks at most, we will trend hot and hotter, finding ourselves by mid-summer in heat rivaling our southern states.  As the days heat up, the vegetables and the fruits will flower, become pregnant, then fruit, giving us the food we love:  tomatoes, beans, potatoes, apples, pears, cherries and currant.  Perhaps this year, with the transplanting even the gooseberries will yield.

    Then, by mid-to-late August, the evenings will begin to cool, though the days remain warm.  The sky will become an impossible blue, a color found only in the heart and the mind’s eye.  This sky absorbs all earthbound thought and transforms it into the higher concepts of heaven.  This signals the onrush of the harvest season.

    Blessed be.

  • Real Religion

    Beltane                                                     Waxing Last Frost Moon

    “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Especially true if you insert mother earth for mothers and nature for women, viz.  The real religion of the world comes from nature much more than from men-from mother earth most of all, who carries the key to our souls in her bosom.

    I am just back from seeing Leslie give her final presentation at Groveland.  Ran into Bill Mate.  He’s been doing work for the Methodist Church in New Orleans.  Sounded fun.

    Wow.  No nap yesterday plus 5 hours driving, then up early for going into St. Paul to see Leslie.  Got hit by a sudden need to lie down and sleep.  Did so.  Better now, less foggy.

    When I got back, Kate was in the front, raking and planting, earth mother to mother earth.  I made pizza, then crashed.  Still waking up.

    Light rain, warm.  80’s in the forecast.  Spring, it seems, may have finally arrived, well after it has come and gone as a Celtic season.