Merry Met Virtual Traveller
With March arrives a hint of wild garlic in the air and the thready yet somehow emboldened song of the Mistle Thrush, or Storm Cock as it is known due to its tendency to sing even in a storm. Its call warns us that whilst spring is around the corner, winter may still have something to say about it.
A week ago I saw my first butterfly of the season, a red admiral out sunning it epaulettes on a particularly warm February day and this month we can bask in the glory of an extra hour of daylight each day. Soon we will reach the half way point between the winter solstice in December and the summer solstice in June: the Vernal Equinox when the length of the night and the day are roughly the same.
Lambs will soon appear in the fields, birds in the nests and cubs in the dens. With new life comes the return of balance. Deep pink blackthorn buds and chartreuse green leaves burst through the decaying, flayed hedgerows. The chatter of the sparrows starts up again in earnest for the new season, and primroses and crocuses take over from the snowdrops and aconites.
The search for balance often appears in stories in the form of siblings. Three brothers or two sisters are common motifs that play out in stories such as The Twelve Months, The Three Green Women Of The Hill, and The Green Lady, just some examples although there are many.
In these stories, the youngest of the two or three siblings is often the one who rights the balance in the story by counteracting the undesirable behaviour of the older one, for example greed with moderation, laziness with hard work or cruelty with kindness. Through the ‘goodness’ in the younger character, balance is brought about and a conclusion to the story can be reached. World weary winter who can no longer be kind needs spring to breathe hope into its roots.
Then there are the stories where nature itself is out of balance, The Tiddy Man from the Lincolnshire Carrs is a great example of this. When the Carrs are drained by new settlers then the Tiddy Man is angered and he must be sung to in order for him to bring back the natural balance the presence of the waters provides.
Hern The Hunter also tells the tale of a King’s favourite brought back to life with a dark magic, creating distrust and conflict within the King’s court as nature is defied and no longer in balance.
If you would like to listen to any of these stories then click on the titles to follow the link to the podcast episodes that include these stories.
Throughout March I will be exploring themes in story and nature connected with spring through my paid Substack offerings and you can find what’s coming up below.
Don’t forget you can also join me each week for Midweek Moments via my Substack Chat. Each Wednesday I post a moment in nature or life that I have paid particular attention to, tell its story and invite you to join me in that moment.
I also hope you will be able to join me for one of these events and links to the programme and booking are all listed in the fullnewsletter here.