February 2nd is a special day. Some think of it as Groundhog's Day, some as Lammas, some as Imbolc, and still others as Candlemas - but no matter what you call it, its significance lies in the delicious anticipation of spring. What a pleasant and hopeful thing to look forward to and celebrate while the air is still biting and cold!
It is the return of the birds, which begins this time of year where I live, that really touches my heart and makes the spring's imminent arrival real for me. They are the essence of the season, a living, breathing representation of the hope that this season is brimming with. As the birds begin to return and trill their cheerful songs in trees putting forth new buds, the air takes on a subtle yet distinctly soft quality. The intangible knowledge that the season of rebirth is nearly upon us always fills me with a sense of wonder and hope, and puts me in mind of my favorite poem:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
- Emily Dickinson
The idea of hope as a bird is as natural as breathing to me. What a miracle the season is, and the image of a bird - the magic of its flight, the sweetness of its song, its resilience in its effort to survive - is the essence of spring, summing up the feelings, sights and sounds of the season. I hope that, however you celebrate this day, it lights a special fire in your heart to prepare you for the wondrous season ahead!