Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spring is in the air?

No, silly, it is still Winter!

It is my observation that people – in general- do not like Winter. Granted, it is a tough season to like. Everything alive seems to either hide underground or otherwise become as unattractive as possible. Days are short, dark and cold, the nights long and even darker and colder. That is probably why so many of us are longing for the advent of Spring.

Still, I do think that there is a lot to be said for Winter. Purely paganistically speaking, Winter is a necessary ingredient of what's known as the Wheel of the Year, the endless rhythm of the seasonal changes. Winter is Nature's expression of “What Goes Up must Come Down” and it is the down-coming part of that. It reminds us sharply of our own mortality.

Yet, I happen to like the Winter time. Outside it is dark, cold and wet, but inside it is warm, cosy and light. The world outside seems barren and sometimes, when everything is white after a good snow storm, even primordially so. It has its own beauty and attractiveness to those who are not afraid to open their eyes towards its beauty.

But to many, Winter is a period of the year that's best passed over as quickly as possible. That's why so many surround themselves with the 'symbols of Spring' sometimes as early as December when Winter proper sometimes hasn't even arrived yet. These symbols more often than not involve Spring flowers, artificially forced to blossom way before their time in Nature. When I look into my garden I see hellebore, crocus and snowdrops; the flower shop, however, sells tulips, daffodils and hyacinths who in Nature are not supposed to flower until next month. It is also why so many start saying that they can feel 'Spring is in the Air' upon the first mild and sunny Winter's day. We have those over here sometimes as early as January, when the bulk of Winter's still before us.

I also think these feelings are related to a rather common tendency not to live in the Now but sometime in the future. Many people are always planning for something in the future, but in the meantime forget to live now. In Winter, our mind is already in Spring, when it is Spring we are looking forward to Summer. When it is High Summer, some start looking forward till Autumn, especially when they get tired of the heat and draught. And when Autumn is upon us, we look forward to Winter, or more accurately, we start preparing for the Winter Holidays, each year sooner and sooner, it seems.

Just a week ago, the weather was so fine, I spent most of the day outside pottering in the garden. Today, I am looking outside and it is snowing, and the temperature's around freezing. Was that the coming of Spring I felt last week? Nope, just a little upward weather spike. Winter is still here! And that's just as it should be!

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