Friday, April 27, 2012

May Day

It's almost May Day.  Many think of May Day as a political celebration of labor...parades...missiles, tanks, troops marching through Red Square (dating myself a tad here!).  

Here on "The Peninsula" we have a "Loyalty Day" parade.  I find this title almost as emotionally disturbing as the thought of celebrating May Day with weapons.  It has an Orwellian sort of overtone to my ear.  "You must attend the Loyalty Day parade..this will show proper thinking, if you do not attend we will know!

To me, May Day is Beltane.   It falls half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  It was a time for our ancestors to celebrate and honor the earth, to ensure that the food and livestock  would flourish and thrive.  Bonfires were lit on the night before and celebrations lasted until the dawn.  The fire chased away the winter and brought forth the summer and a time of plenty. 

According to Medievalist Nora Chadwick, in Celtic Ireland  "Beltane was celebrated on 1 May, a spring-time festival of optimism. Fertility ritual again was important, in part perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun, symbolized by the lighting of fires through which livestock were driven, and around which the people danced in a sunwise direction"

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season for the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians started at Beltane. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest.   The bonfires were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits. Like the festival of Samhain, opposite Beltane on 31 October, Beltane was also a time when the Otherworld was seen as particularly close at hand. 

I can hear you saying that you don't need to ensure that your plantings and livestock thrive.  If you need anything you can just run down to the local store and with the magic of your debit card purchase what you need.  Your food that magically appears at the grocery store has to come from someplace.  Somewhere on this planet a farmer is looking up at the sky wondering if this year his crop will thrive, wondering if this year his livestock will flourish and multiply.  Without this farmer your local store will be empty and bare and you will go hungry.

Personally I'm going to light a Beltane fire, I'm going to celebrate.  It won't be for my crops and my livestock but for all of ours.  I often wonder if the condition of the world is due to the fact that we have forgotten to pay respect to the spirits of the land, to the spirits of our ancestors.  Have we become so jaded in our technological superiority that we think we are above the whims of nature?  Trust me we aren't.  If mother nature wants to "smite" us...she will and there is nothing we can do.  I will strive my best to stay on her good side. 

Le Petite Crone says:  Light a fire for us all.....celebrate Beltane.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Time on "The Peninsula"

Spring has come to "The Peninsula".   There are some signs that you just can't miss that tell you winter is over.  Clamming season is once again upon can tell by the plethora of hand made signs in people's yards "Clams Cleaned Here" !   I always have a mental image of clams enjoying a bubble bath...once nicely scrubbed they are returned to the beach to enjoy the rest of the day.  I can't help it, my mind likes to toss up images like that.  The daffodils and crocus flowers are in full bloom.  The croaking of the  tree frogs are filling the night.  Their songs so loud you can hardly hear anything else. 

The grass is growing.  It's nice and green but then it's green all year.  On dry days you can hear the sound of lawnmowers chugging away.  We have only given in to the temptation to mow once so far....the lawn is still a tad soggy.  We have had a total of 41.27 inches of rain this year, but only 5.63 inches for this month.  Things are looking good!

My dear Husband "Himself" and I took our MG out for a spin the other day.  While it was a bit chilly the sun was out and we had a glorious time!  We were so bundled up all you could see were white faces and gray hair!  We looked at each other and laughed "Dang, who is that old person?".

My dark flock of crows has moved into spring mode.  They are no longer a large raucous flock , but have grouped into mated couples.  Their main intent is nest building and egg laying.  I'm looking forward to seeing this years crop of babies come to my feeder.

I remember my Grandmother singing "Spring has sprung, the grass has riz I wonder where the robin is?".  The robins are in full glory right now as are the manic cleaner birds (Bullock's Orioles) small black and orange birds who descend into your yard en mass,  peck wildly in the lawn, looking for slugs, tossing bits of moss and grass here and there leaving behind a  mess...but it's a "slugless" mess so I don't mind!

While spring isn't my favorite season I still find much to be inspired by.  I love the new green on the plants, the wild rainbow of rhododendrons and all the early flowers in bloom.  I love the clean smell after a spring shower.  I love the feeling of newness that you can sense, yet all the while knowing that this is old, as old as the earth.  Each season has it's time and each time it's season.   I like knowing that there is a  progression, from spring, to summer, to autumn to winter.  From birth, to fullness of life, to the autumn years to your winter and death and then like the earths cycles rebirth.

I have been a tad remiss in my blog postings because like the cycles of the earth my laptop has had a death (the dreaded black screen of death) and rebirth.  With many thanks to the local computer wizard I am once again connected and on line.

Le Petite Crone says:  Rejoice in the new!