"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring!

It occurred to me recently, as the sun filtered into our living room about a half hour after rising and where it lingers for a while at window level, that the light here is the same in late March as it is in late September. Only it is a much warmer, more promising light. In the first weeks of fall the sun will also stretch its fingers across the living room and, about twelve hours later, it blinds us in our sitting room on the west side of our small cottage.

My amateur astronomer father would have been slightly distressed to know that it took me 54 years to understand that "Equinox" means "equal night" in Latin. [I even took one year of Latin in college...]. So of course it is!

While the daylight, and night time, is not exactly equal at this time of year (for some reason I can't explain here but it's something like 12 minutes off) it is, for all intents and purposes, the same 12 hour stretch for darkness and light–even with Daylight Savings starting in early March. Of course, the Solstices are the opposite: the greatest stretch of light on June 21st and the longest stretch of night on December 21st. These are symbolically special times in our astronomical calendar. A scattering of rock circles throughout Britain, such as Stonehenge and Avebury, were believed to have been constructed around them. [For a beautiful account of Stonehenge and its pagan and mystical associations, read Chapter 28 of Thomas Hardy's 1892 novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, here.]

On our farm in Kentucky where spring is truly spring (and not covered by a blanket of snow), the Spring Equinox awakens so much: there are new animals, red buds bursting, bulbs emerging, grass greening, wild flowers starting, and rhubarb and strawberries in May! The fields are usually dry enough to walk around without worrying about tamping down the hay (or ticks and chiggers to bite us).

Our Kentucky spring spans from March-May, for the most part and by Memorial Day, it starts to get hot and humid. It is a wonderful, hopeful time in our year. There are gardens to dream about and to start planting and a few months where we can actually have the heat and the air-conditioning off for much of the time. I wash all of our quilts, and small area rugs, and hang them on the line. Ideally I spring clean in March and early April, generally leading up to Easter, so I'd best hold true to that conviction.

I was so excited about gardening that the other day I stopped at a few trusted garden centers to see if they had any pansies in–the ones I visited were closed or only had flats of annuals starting. In another month, or less, there will be an abundant selection of plants through Mother's Day–and regular produce and flower auctions at Casey County Produce Auction!

What are your favorite spring rituals or things you look forward to?

You come back when you're ready!



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