Spring begins

Spring equinox has always been a fairly low-key holiday for me, especially in the years I’d been living in Oregon where March wasn’t significantly different than the months before it. But having just come through my first Maine winter in many years, I have a much deeper appreciation for the beginning of spring, even if it’s somewhat symbolic here (I mean, there’s definitely warmer temperatures and melting snowbanks, but at the same time we’re expecting another big storm this weekend).

For whatever reason I’ve been drawn to some Slavic ways of celebrating. Key to this was creating a Marzanna doll and burning winter in effigy. That felt particularly satisfying. In a bit of synchronicity, I discovered that the traditional blini (pancakes/crepes) eaten on Maslenitsa were originally made of buckwheat – as are the traditional French-Acadian ployes commonly eaten in Maine. So that made for a nicely appropriate equinox breakfast, made by my mother. Then we dyed some eggs with natural foodstuffs (turmeric and red cabbage didn’t work very well for us but beets produced some lovely deep reds, especially after a little oiling). We took some with us and went to the beach, which we used to do for the equinox when I was younger. We each wrote a wish for the coming year on an egg with marker and then ate it, and of course left one as an offering.

I brought along seawater and sand I had collected from the Pacific Ocean and poured them out, refilling them with water and sand from the Atlantic – a coastal exchange program of sorts, and a way of acknowledging my move and my love for both. I had also brought along one of the eggshell candles I made for the occasion, only to find my matches had gone missing, so I simply set it afloat in a stream that emptied into the sea, unlit.

Before I left my mother’s house, she noticed two crocuses blossoming in her garden, the very first flowers of the season, which felt auspicious.

Once I got back home (to my much snowier landscape) and burned the Marzanna effigy, my final act of the equinox was a tithe – donating some money to the local land trust that oversees many special places here, including one I find particularly sacred to Nerthus (and I found I was able to designate it “in honor of” someone, so I put in Her name). I have always enjoyed donating to organizations that protect the land I love and consider it a devotional offering.

Coming storms notwithstanding, I’ve seen leaf buds on the beech trees and bits of the swamp are morphing from snow piles back to standing water, so I know it’s only a matter of weeks before I can start playing in the dirt and getting ready to plant things.

(As a side note, the day before the equinox we visited an amazing plant nursery down the coast with wonderful greenhouses, where I happened to find a venus flytrap plant, so I have a new friend in my home now. They were also growing pitcher plants and sundews so I may end up with a carnivorous collection in the future.)

~ by Dver on March 21, 2023.

4 Responses to “Spring begins”

  1. […] Spring begins […]

  2. Ohhhh, how beautiful!

  3. Happy Spring, Dver! Next time you will dye eggs try dried onion shells (that’s what Slavic people do) which can be done by placing them in boiling water with eggs or before to get a deeper color. Inscribe or engrave anything you want after they cooled down 🙂

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