The Smell of Spring

Spring Crocus

Last night it rained. This morning when I walked the dog, there was a scent in the air that took me a moment or two to place… Then suddenly I remembered; it is the smell of soil waking up, coming alive after its long sleep.  It is the smell of spring.

Go outside and sniff the air. Do you smell it? Listen. Perhaps you can hear the gentle whispers? Mama earth is beginning to stir. All winter, she has quietly held the seeds of spring in her soil body; she has coddled them and kept them safe, waiting for the time to sprout. And now spring is almost here and the seeds are stirring, preparing to crack open and grow new life.

The chickadees know; they whistle to each other from every treetop in my neighborhood. My dog knows; she sniffs at the soil with new interest. And the sheep know; they birth their lambs in February, knowing spring is almost here. My Celtic ancestors celebrated Imbolc at the time of lamb birthing. It was their way of honoring the end of winter and the promise of life returning to the land. Modern man has turned Imbolc into Groundhog Day, but I personally prefer the celebratory air of ancient Imbolc.

It has been snowing and snowing here, even more than usual. And I had begun to worry that winter might decide to go on and on and on. But then, on a cold, wet day in February, I hear earth’s whispers and I get a whiff of her soil coming alive. It feels like I just received a message from a long lost lover. And I instantly know that the spring I crave is on its way back to me.

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