When I was a child I lived on a busy, noisy street close to the train station, in a small apartment with no garden.
My bedroom overlooked a neighbour's tiny walled garden, and I liked to sit on the window sill and look at the persimmon tree growing in the centre, and all the flowers spilling from narrow beds onto the miniature lawn.
I cherished the view, and spent hours observing this secret natural world in the middle of the city.
My maternal grandmother lived in the country, in a small hamlet surrounded by fields, trees, and hedges.
She had a small allotment, kept hens, and used to take me for leisurely strolls along the dusty lanes crisscrossing the landscape, looking for wild edible leaves, blackberries, pine nuts, and violets.
During the summer I got to spend a few blissful weeks with her. The place was very safe, and I was often on my own, free to wander around with my bicycle, read under a tree, or just lie on the grass and look at cloud shapes.
My introverted, highly sensitive nature thrived on the slow rhythm of life, the beautiful views, the peace and quiet.
I remember those holidays in the country as a magical time, and I'm sure my love for nature and the seasons started just then.
Later in life, when I lived in Ireland, I came across the wheel of the year, and discovered that the ancient Celts celebrated the seasons with eight festivals. Between each equinox and solstice, they observed four other turning points: Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain.
I found the idea fascinating and decided to celebrate the wheel of the year to deepen my connection to nature.
I'm not religious, and I don't like rules, so my celebrations are very personal and flexible. My simple rituals change depending on my mood, and on what goes on in my life, but I always find the time to decorate my altar with flowers, light a candle, and quietly reflect on the festival's energy.
Celebrating the seasonal changes is an opportunity to slow down, reflect, notice and enjoy every single moment, every tiny spark of beauty that comes my way. The more I do this, the more I feel grateful, and content.
The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, reminds me that nothing stays the same. Knowing that all is impermanent, constantly changing, makes the low points of life somehow more bearable, and the highs even more precious.
Creativity and personal energy also have a cyclical nature, and ebb and flow. When I notice, accept, and honour all these cycles, my life somehow flows more easily, and my creative energy too.
Today it's the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere. It's a festival of rebirth, and life emerging from winter - literally and figuratively.
This morning I went for a walk to notice all the signs of growth - tight buds opening up, fresh green leaves appearing on branches, all kinds of bulbs peeping above the ground, violets and daisies dotting the grass.
I spotted the first blossom on the apricot trees, and on one of the ornamental cherry trees we planted last year.
I saw the first butterflies, bumblebees gathering pollen from the hyacinths, and birds gatherings dry twigs for their nests.
Just like magic, a new cycle of growth has begun.
After the grey winter bareness, it all feels like a miracle. Spring reminds me that light always comes after the darkness, and seeds buried deep find a way to reach that light, germinate, and grow.
I gathered a few flowers and small branches from the garden, to decorate my seasonal wreath and altar, and baked some biscuits shaped like flowers as a special spring treat. And then I wrote this.
Spring is a time of new ideas, new beginnings, and sowing seeds of hope - the perfect time for my first post, and a new adventure.
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Thanks Cristina! It's always wonderful to read your thoughts. To me you're always like a breath of fresh air which brings authentic beauty and lightness. 🌷
I didn't know we had the same country love deeply rooted in our hearts. 💕
Have wonderful spring days!
Thank you for this Cristina, a really enjoyable read. Now I want to find out more about the other four ancient celebrations.