Ohhhh! I can feel that spring fever coming on again. Here in the temperate rain forest, one of the first things I notice is the greening of the broad leaf trees. Sure, lots of them already have baby leaf buds but I ‘m not talking about leaves. I’m talking about the lichen that grows on the branches (rocks, fences, etc too).
Lichen takes many different shapes: furry, branching and scale-like. But in some kinds of light or when contrasting with a dark background, the trees seem luminous with the lichen this time of year.
Lichen is actually a partnership between a fungus and an alga.
They get together to help each other live. Maybe that’s a botanical version of the quickening and fertility of this season. ‘Tis lambing season as ewes prepare to give birth and suckle their young. And then there’s also Groundhog day.
This doesn’t seem like a fertility custom. After all, the furry critter is supposedly just poking his head out of his burrow to check the weather to see if he should come out. But when you consider that the Celts apparently began that custom by watching a snake poke out of its burrow in Mother Earth — well, it seems a little sexier.
Thinking of the Fire of Spring, that Fire that is Life Force. I always think that all those perky little plant buds about to open are little green flames. They are the right shape. Of course we humans experience the fires of spring too (what doesn’t). We talk (or sing) about spring fever.
And it’s no accident that Valentine’s day is during this time. We keep it all very silly and sweet but hey. All that CHOCOLATE going around is another clue to what is really afoot.
At the end of the day though, the desire and fertility remind us to be grateful for Life, that Fire within all beings. And it reminds us to be thankful for the bounty of Mother Earth that sustains that Fire of Life.
originally published in naturecommunion.blogspot.ca Friday, 1 February 2013