Spring by the calendar, regardless of the weather. Signs of spring and symbols of spring are quite different from one another, much as rabbits and hares are different species. Rabbits are burrowers, living underground in the wild. Logical then, that the tin miners in England had a symbol of rabbits. Yet even in this, sometimes you see it referred to as tinner’s rabbit’s and sometimes tinner’s hares. Hares on the other hand, live above ground and do not burrow. Their young are born fully furred with open eyes, ready to run, as it were, as opposed to the helpless state of baby rabbits. This maturity in newborn hares, called leverets, is a good thing, as hares make their nests in the grass, as do many birds. Eggs are also symbols of spring. Perhaps that similarity of hare’s nests to bird’s nests is the source of Easter eggs being delivered by a rabbit. Perhaps the bunny should be a hare. I get no satisfactory answer from my research into this subject. I thought it strange even as a child.
The signs of spring are much less confusing and ambiguous. In my front garden beds the green leaves of irises, grape hyacinths, and day lilies are breaking through the blanket of leaves I put over them for their winter sleep. Buds are swelling on the lilac bush. A vase of daffodils sits on my night table, admittedly flown in from Ireland, but only available once a year for a month or less. By the time they arrive each year I am desperate for color and sunshine. In the back garden I see small inch high tufts of leaves, a sign my horseradish has survived. The days grow light earlier now and not just because I had to fiddle with the clocks. In my dining room are arrayed the trays and packets of seeds to start my garden and the stakes and twine I will use to mark out the beds. Soon I will be tilling and transplanting and very, very busy.
Which helps me to appreciate that Ostara is the astronomical equinox as well as the first day of spring, a moment of equilibrium as we pass from the dark half of the year into the light half. A moment to think about time and balance in life, balance between work and leisure, time for others and for oneself. In this world in where we measure so much in either years or nano-seconds how do we find our personal equilibrium? Even nature rarely finds it. Nonetheless, I will celebrate it. The eggs might not be delivered by a rabbit but I will dye some with turmeric powder and onion skin until they are a lovely yellow and gold. I will set my seeds in starter and contemplate the future work and leisure in my garden and seek one day at a time to find my balance in a shifting world.