This is the time of year that I trip myself up. I expect spring to wash over me, soft, sweet air and green things popping up everywhere. Instead, we get snow, then perhaps a day of thaw, ice, single digits swinging up to 34 degrees, hungry moose, steel grey skies, black ice on the road.
Imbolc has passed, and I remind myself that it means fire in the belly, not the emergence of bluebells in the alder wood behind my house. Fire in the belly, the faint awakening of seeds still very much under the ground, but feeling the turn of the tilt toward sunlight, toward thaw, even if it is still a month (maybe more) away. The Cailleach giving way to Brigid (or Brigit, or Bridget depending on the place).
And I am still dreaming. Dreaming of thaw, dreaming of how the year might unfold, dreaming of poems that deep inside me begin to consider their unfurling.
On the eve of St. Brigid’s feast day, my name day, I put out a black silk scarf that she might bless it for health and creativity. The scarf has a voice like a whisper and it is telling me stories. Oh yes, I am doing the research, doing the reading, listening listening listening.
For thaw begins as one drop that swells round to completion and the joins the next. Then there is a trickle, like small crystal pendants. Later that sounds like a rush and then onward toward roar. But always, I remind myself, pay attention to that first drop, that first trickle, for from that the creek bed is furrowed, pointed always toward the sea.
Here’s a poem by the amazing Paula Meehan for Brigid,
Old Biddy Talk
By Paula Meehan
Have you no home to go to…
The young mostly on one another’s screens
– but these two rapt in each other
at the boundary wall: that genetic imperative,
the force that through the pandemic
drives their flowering, is my spring rain,
is my restorer from the deep delved wells,
hauled to the healing light of this world
pure water tasting of gemstone & iron,
quartzite & gold:
starlight & planets,
the sun & the comets, the moon herself,
she sacred to Brigit, mirrored in my bucket.
My own breath, old spirit, stirring in the cowled
reflection of the earth geologic, old seas,
old forests wherein once we swung from tree
to waterlogged tree become shale, become coal,
underground tributaries to rivers of oil –
breath lit fuel in their veins. They are fire –
vestal and flame. They are immortal.