The wanton spring

Spring is a collage of blossom.  My favourite is the wild cherry: luminous cups languidly dangling from purple stems; tiny anthers dusting the blooms with turmeric sprinkles.  The blossom is beyond white – as though composed not of matter, but purely of light.  There is nothing in nature as joyous as a wild cherry in full blossom.  I haven’t painted since early in the year, but the cherry blossom inspired me to try to capture it, with brushstrokes as nonchalant as the tree itself.  Hawthorn is the traditional Beltane blossom but, though clusters of flower buds are ready to burst, only a smattering of the blooms has appeared in time for May Eve.  If there is one word that can be used to describe Beltane, it is abundance.  It’s a festival of sensuality, when we celebrate all the fruitfulness of the earth.  Spring was sluggish last year, but this spring has been gloriously different.  And the rampant cherry blossom has symbolised the season for me this year.

This has been a season of wanton blooming, a fitting prelude to Beltane.  It caught me by surprise.  One moment I was plodding through the dull winter that was barely a season at all and the next, a profusion of daffodils and blossom confronted me.  I think it may have caught the insects by surprise too, because it was only as the daffodils started to wither that they appeared.  I saw my first bees in early April, my first butterfly just a week ago.  They are still just a few straggling pioneers, still hidden from view.  And though I haven’t yet seen my first spider, they have been quietly busy.  In the dew of early morning, their webs astound me, sparkling on the edge of ponds, strung across budding trees and nestled carefully in the undergrowth.

Everywhere, there is new green – a hundred shades of it.  And everywhere, points or masses of colour, as the flowers bloom.  Marsh marigolds and cowslips offer carpets of yellow.  Dog violets flash purple in the undergrowth.  Butterbur blooms like an alien forest.  I learned recently that catkins, too, are flowers, straggling from trees or like fluff on the edge of branches.  Whorls of budding leaves seem like blossom in themselves.  And as though woken by the blooming of the world around them, the birds and the mammals make themselves known.  Ponds awash with fowl: mallards, tufted duck, moorhens, coots and geese.  A grey heron, dominating the sky like the messenger from the gods he is believed to be.  And a brown hare, watching from the undergrowth around his burrow – you can see him in one of these photos if you look very closely!

The growing time is almost over.  It is time for ideas and projects to bloom.  I’ve been growing stories: six new short stories since the dark of the year and another almost ready to blossom.  And my novel is finally fully grown.  Some of them are already out in the world, awaiting their fate.  But I’ll be using the energy of the coming waxing moon and conjuring a little natural magic to help my novel on its way.  And perhaps, now that the light half of the year is beginning, I’ll feel the urge to fledge the paintings that still nest in my imagination.

As Beltane draws in, we’re doing the last of our spring cleaning, cleansing the house both physically and spiritually to make space for the summer energy to flow in.  There are many goddesses associated with Beltane, but this year, I’ll be seeking the qualities of the goddesses of the forests, the hills and the wild places for the vital, energetic power they bring.  Beltane is for celebrating, so, once the house is cleansed and all the preparations for my work are done, I’ll be pausing to celebrate what I’ve achieved so far this year.  But Beltane is also a time of promises, so before the summer begins in earnest, I’ll make a promise to myself, so that my creative goals are nurtured to their full bloom.

51 thoughts on “The wanton spring

  1. We’re just easing into spring in my neck of the woods. Seems it would come only to vanish again. But I’m optimistic it’s here to stay now. Between your lovely words and the sunshine streaming through my window right now, I’m bursting with that spring feeling. 🙂

    Congrats on writing so many short stories and getting your novel in shape.

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  2. Such an exciting stage to have a finished novel, no matter the outcome. We now have a product on our hands and one that we can feel proud of – that we’ve carefully crafted from the first word. Good luck with your stories. Get that novel sent out! And let us know how you go x

    (ps I’m envious – we’re heading into Winter!)

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  3. Not only are you a beautiful writer, Andrea, but such a talented photographer. I really enjoyed this post.
    I spend part of the day on my back patio today and was able to enjoy the beauty of a long awaited spring.
    Thanks for sharing your photos…lovely!

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  4. So very glad to have ‘discovered’ you via Gemma 🙂 great post (wild cherry blossoms are my favourite too) wonderful writing. I expect I will spend a few days trying to catch up on your older posts..

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  5. Awesome observation Andrea, words and pics. I’d love it if you were to label your images so that townies like me could learn to recognise the different species that you so eloquently describe. (I think I have the wild cherry!) Do you celebrate May Eve in any particular way?

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    • Thanks Roy, but I’m a townie too! I’d love to live in the countryside, but make do with finding nature where I can – I’ll be posting about that at some point. About a year or so ago I couldn’t have named all the things I can name now – I’m often to be found coming back from my walks and scrabbling through field guides to recognise what I’ve just seen! I’ve added some captions – just hover over the photos to see those I’ve added. I tend to celebrate the festivals quite simply as I’m finding real joy in simple pleasures these days. I intend to do a full cleansing of the house – with candles, rosemary, salt and water, then go out into nature and bring back some vegetation – its traditional to hang greenery over the doors and windows at this time and I want to bring in some of that wild energy. There’s a public celebration of Beltane in Edinburgh each year, which is quite interesting to attend.

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  6. Such wonderful photos 🙂 All the flowers, trees, and vegetation do seem extra abundant this year. I know that our winter here was extra mild, despite all the grey. We hardly saw a frost and were lucky to miss all the flooding that happened in the SW of the country.

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  7. Love the new look Andrea, and your beautiful photos heralding the blossoming and flourishing spring! I was disappointed yesterday with all the rain not to be able to take a walk as planned through the bluebell woods as it was way too muddy. You have been very busy and creative with your writing and your painting too by the sounds of it! I hope we get to see your cherry blossom artwork, which I’m sure is gorgeous. I love cherry blossom! A beautiful of time of year indeed 🙂

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    • Thanks Sherri, a new look for spring 🙂 It was very rainy here at the weekend too, so we didn’t get beyond our local park. I’ve definitely had a good spring for writing, not so much for painting! but the cherry blossom painting is ‘hidden’ in the blossom collage!

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      • Ah yes! I see the cherry blossom painting now, you had me there Andrea, haha!! Very clever, you got me with that one! I love it! I can see I’ll have to be much more observant from now on with your photo collages as there is obviously more than one treasure hidden amongst them 😉

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  8. I’m constantly in awe of your writing, Andrea. I so hope that you have success with the work that you’ve ‘put out there’ – and get that novel published!
    This post is full of such amazing sensory detail I can almost smell the hawthorn.

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  9. What a beautiful salute to spring! I must say that I got spoiled by doing the Northwest move at the end of March. When I arrived here everything was already green, which I believe it is all year. However, over the past two weeks flowers have been popping up everywhere and the trees and bushes have gotten so full. It’s difficult to see some of the stoplights right now because the leaves are hanging into the street. A more mild version of spring for me now, but just as cheerful and stunning.

    Loved your pix and congrats on all of your writing successes. I look forward to reading your work soon!

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      • Cherry blossoms became a mainstay during college in DC. Every year, I went to see them bloom. Then I moved to NY and went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It was so cool to still have them nearby. 🙂

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  10. This is a beautiful paean to spring. I too have been revelling in the explosion of life and lushness and colour: the Beltane energy is almost palpable at the moment. May your season of Beltane be a blessed one.

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  11. I love the new look of the blog! It fits beautifully with the season. We’ve had two days of heavy rain, but until then, Spring had been worth the wait. So many trees and flowers are blooming now, and the leaves are bursting out on the trees. Despite my allergies, I love the season.

    The words have been trickling out on my stories, and I think my new blogging regimen is helping them become more than that. I can’t prevent “real” life from being busy these next few months, but I can do my best to keep the creativity flowing.

    Now, if only I could have spotted that rabbit….

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  12. What a delightful surprise to see your new ‘outfit’, Andrea. I absolutely love it!!
    Such a wonderful ode to the spring goddess! I so much agree with Jenny’s comment, this post is so full of sensory detail. As always what a pleasure to read your posts, Andrea. I do hope and wish all the best of luck with publishing your novel. You’re such a great writer and photographer too.

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  13. Hi Andrea. When I first read the title of this post, I thought, “That’s odd. Spring as wanton, like a sensual being?” Oh, right. Duh…..:)
    I wish you well with your creative projects in this burgeoning, full-of-promise time of the year!

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  14. Lovely, as always Andrea – I know what you mean about the surprise of Spring’s appearance. I found myself the other day suddenly realising how light it is now quite late in the day, and wondering when that happened. You have such a good way of combining images and words!

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  15. I love your gentle, flowering and flowing combination of short stories, novel and art. You have the most beautiful and vivid photography of flowers and nature. Finally, it’s truly Springtime in the Rockies, glorious and long awaited, and I’ve met my writing deadlines–at least for awhile–so I’m more than ready to finally plant my garden and flower beds without fear of freezes.

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  16. Lovely! And you know how much I love blossom, have more paintings on that theme drying right now…a metaphor for the crative process and for the experience of life itself 🙂

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