This spring I am thinking of children. The energy of spring is full of delight and possibilities, as the season lifts its face to the sun and fragrance drifts through the air.
On Sunday I wandered through my local park, enjoying an abundance of wildflowers: buttercups, hearts ease, dandelions, daisies, puriri, rain lilies and even my first discovery of wild strawberries, tucked well down in the thick grass. I felt as if I was a little child again, who loved to pick flowers beside the Waionganaiti River in Taranaki as my Aunt Jessie tended her garden close by. In the picture above you can see how I made a small gratitude shrine to the earth before taking my posy home.
Whatever your sorrows, spring has the capacity to lift the heart.
Another reason to think of children
As you know, here in Aotearoa New Zealand the festival of the dead has come to permeate our spring, in the form of Halloween. Sometimes it feels as if a shroud has been cast over the possibilities of truly celebrating the time of greening, growing and flowering.
Each year I ponder on how to negotiate this with the children in my life. I want to celebrate the return of the migrating birds, the cuckoos and kuaka, along with the warming sea, the growth of the kai moana/sea food, the rising sap and blossoming of trees. I don’t want to get lost in the dark cloaks, masks, and thoughts of death (even though I welcome such contemplations in the dark season).
[A note here for my northern hemisphere subscribers. Here’s a link to my thoughts on Samhain/Halloween, which is in your season right now.]
One possibility (and some good news)
Last year my granddaughters and I found a solution. I’ve written about it in my new book, Sun, Moon, and Stars, which is full of stories about how different families have been celebrating the seasons.
Sun, Moon and Stars, which has been on hold for most of the year due to two Covid cancellations of the Ashton Wylie Awards ceremony, is finally free to be published! It will be released in November, and you may read more details below.
Sun, Moon and Stars was awarded second place in the unpublished manuscript section of the Awards. So spring is truly a season of celebration for me.
And now for a glimpse
I thought you might enjoy this excerpt from the book, since it offers a different possibility for the season. It’s about our family’s Beltane spring celebration last year, and the way we extended our ritual, which began with ‘tree dressing’ — tying ribbons onto the lemon tree, accompanied by words of gratitude.
‘Later in the afternoon we gathered wild flowers from along the street and made flower posies, which we tied with slender coloured ribbons. To each posy we attached a note, saying ‘With love from the spring fairies’.
Then it was time to deliver, first to the neighbour from Turkey with her shy little son, and then to the woman who lived on the other side. The little ones each offered up their gift after I explained why we were there. ‘We want to do something different from Halloween, and so we’ve made you a spring posy.’
The old woman who lives alone, after unlocking her double-locked door to us, was charmed and appreciative. ‘Last year they were asking for money’, she said.
‘I think she might be lonely,’ Mira wondered aloud as we walked away.
The children were happy to have their offerings accepted with smiles. Doing this a few days before the trick-or-treaters, we didn’t have to compete with them. I took my posy home and left it outside the door of a neighbour who was having a hard time.
It felt special to reach out to people with a simple gift and good wish. Our hearts were glad.’
How might you express kindness to others at Beltane, and spread the energy of spring?
Whenever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
— Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD)
Does your heart yearn for nourishment and upliftment at this time? — to be held and cared for?