The Land Awakes

Sun Shines Through Winter Skeletons
So, here we are again, approaching Imbolc - the wheel turns and we welcome the returning light, the land warms, days grow longer and life begins to fight through the dark earth.
I noticed the days were tangibly longer a few weeks ago, the rays of the sun regaining their power, shining with more confidence as I took this photo around the lake at Scotney Castle.
Seemingly against all the odds, grass, leaves and buds of bright, lush emerald return to the land contrasting against the bitter deep greens of the winter foliage. Dead brown leaves and stalks slowly being over taken by fresh
New Life and Decay - Side By Side
new growth, as Bridie the Maiden takes her rightful place beside her Grandmother the Wise Woman and Crone and then walks us into her youthful light and energy. 

My drive to work is noticeably lighter, the cold night's harsh frosts are defeated by the earlier sun and it's growing warmth. The snow seems to be a fading memory.
I've been super full of energy this week, swimming every morning before work, buzzing with ideas and cracking on with all sorts of projects, gleefully thinking to myself that hurrah Spring is here, full of Maiden energy. Until I wake up with proper and actual Man Flu ( No Offence Gents!) - just in time for the weekend, which put paid to my planned expedition into the wilds of Kent, map in hand, Himself trailing and muttering in my wake.
Fortunately in some act of serendipitous precognition - or photographic and verbal diarrhea, you decide, I had already a
Early Blossom
stash of photos for Imbolc/Spring from the previous couple of weeks to furnish an impromptu blog. You Lucky Readers!

This Blossom, out a couple of weeks ago, seemed to be foolishly precocious - I hope it survived the harsh frost and snow, like some brave pioneer, I suppose someone or something has to go first? 
Wrapped up warm and dosed up honey and lemon, I ventured out this afternoon, washed and half groomed after a good 36 hours of being pyjama clad and wild haired.
Oh how the Crone must have laughed at my mis-pronounced youth. 
We went to a nearby Churchyard where my lovely late Mum In Law is at rest as it would be her birthday tomorrow. The photo of the young buds pushing through the soil next to the dead leaves really summed up the time of year to me, even more poignant in it's particular setting. I sat on a bench and looked over the Deer Park, realising that the bench itself is a memorial to an old
school friend who too passed away too early a couple of decades ago. We were really close to the wall and  I saw a White Stag, chewing away and observing me intently.
A Messenger ?
Now I don't think it was an albino stag, judging by the darkness of it's eyes and a bit of googling on my return confirmed that this was indeed quite rare. 
Mythology has much to say on White Stags - that they are symbols of spirit, messengers from the Other Worlds and that they are sacred. What a beautiful and timely blessing for us both! Wow.
The other highlight of my unusually quiet weekend was doing the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch from the warmth of my kitchen with a restorative cuppa, all of us getting excited as we identified the birds that landed on our bird feeder. There was also a great deal of interest from the cats! Perhaps we were a bit early for their tea in our chosen time slot, but we still recorded several blue tits, long tailed tits, blackbirds,wood pigeons, sparrows and a chaffinch 
One of Our Garden Visitors
(we think) as well as a tiny young looking robin and a much older chubbier one, who seemed to appreciate that the larder had been refilled for them.
So hopefully the wily old Crone with her wicked and wonderful sense of humour is appeased at my lesson learned, that she lingers no longer and takes to her dark hollow to sleep through to Samhain, though maybe we are still too early to be too complacent.
I found a lovely bit of old folklore earlier about the Cailleach, the Gaelic Crone Woman - Legend has it that if Imbolc,  February 1st/2nd depending on your belief, is bright and sunny it is so she can scurry out cackling over the land one more time to collect firewood as she has yet to finish with us and there will be more cold weather to come, if the day is wet she is said to be fast asleep and misses the opportunity to venture forth a last time, meaning that winter is almost over - we shall see! 

Have a Blessed Week and Joyous Imbolc However You Celebrate  x x

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