By Gina Ficociello
Read the sentence from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address:
And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox will fall on March 19th this year.
This is the earliest it has been in over a century. An equinox is thought of as the astronomical marking of when night and day, the sun and the moon, have equal time. Equi from the Latin aequus meaning equal and nox meaning night. The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that, “an equinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane (extended indefinitely in all directions) of the Earth’s equator passes through the Sun.”
Many prehistoric cultures saw it as the day when the sun rose due east and sets due west, having festivals and building monuments to mark and celebrate the significance. You might think of Chichen Itza, Angor Wat, and of course Stonehenge. The list of spring Gods and Goddess are numerous: Inana (my favorite), Persephone, Osiris, Freya, and of course Eostre.
What do they have in common? They are associated with the earth, fertility and rebirth.
Before the days of calendars and grocery stores, it was so important to be able to mark the change in seasons for planting and harvesting as well as animal husbandry. Spring festivals were a time to celebrate the end of winter and pray for plentiful crops and healthy herds. So what does Spring mean to us now in a day food can be easily found at a store and even delivered to our homes?
Spring is a time of change.
It is a time when the earth awakens from the frosty winter and shakes off the cold. We see more sunlight and trees begin to bud; flowers begin to bloom. We see baby lambs and little chick and baby bunnies emerge from hidden nests. Spring is the time of Easter, widely celebrated in America as Christians recall the story of Jesus dying on the cross to be reborn and come back to us with a message of rebirth to eternal life and hope.
Easter of 2018 we had snow. It certainly didn’t feel like spring, but little bulbs were still bursting forth through the cold and the snow seeking warmth and sunlight. After having an Easter egg hunt at my mom’s in the snow (which was pretty funny), I went for a walk and found a little plant coming up right by a stump as if it was made just for me to sit and ponder. So, I sat a while and thought about this little plant doing its best, working all winter to store up energy and strength in its roots so it could burst forth and blossom. I wondered if it would have flowers and what color they would be.
I wondered how I could be more strong and faithful like that little plant.
I have always thought of spring as a time for change and renewal. Feeling stagnant and heavy from long cold winter, we are all ready to put away the wool sweater and drag out the flip flops! But spring time is more than just about cleaning and planning vacation, it’s a time for personal reflection and cleanse.
Forget New Year’s resolutions—I think we should have Spring resolutions when we can watch the earth shake off the cold and come back to life. That little plant was teeming with energy and life as it pushed through the frozen ground full of faith and determination.
So I sat on that stump and thought about that plant—my woodland meditation—until I got too cold and decided to go inside. My sister met me at the door laughing. Apparently my dad saw me sitting in the woods and sent my sister out to give me something to do, empty the ashes from the wood burner. She was laughing because she knew I was meditating, and my dad thought I was bored and needed something to do!
Thinking about that moment, I recognize that we can’t just sit and think thoughts, we have to get up and do something. We can either build up energy in our roots or just push forward and bloom, celebrate…or maybe even build a monument?
Gina Ficociello is a budding writer living in Amherst, Ohio with her two teenage daughters, Josie and Julia, and adorable dog, Yoshi. Growing up on a farm gives her a unique perspective derived from love of nature. She’s the kind of girl that would sit out all night just to watch the moon glow and then sleep outside of the tent to watch the sunrise.
Editor: Dana Gornall