Imbolc Is Almost Here

The sheep on the farm near me haven’t given birth yet, but there are bound to be baby lambs soon. And today I saw winter jasmine blooming outside an old farmhouse. My neighbors with a south-facing front yard have crocus peeping up through the mulch. The other day, there was a flock of robins on a hill up by the Loge.

We’re only a few days away from Imbolc. Depending upon where you live, the land may still be snow-covered and frozen — “earth as hard as iron, water like a stone.” Or, you may be seeing more and more signs of early Spring. Even in the American South, though, February can bring ice storms. It can be warm and sunny one day and wet and cold the next.

Over at the Children and Nature Network, Linda Akeson McGurk is writing about how to be in touch with your landbase through all kinds of weather:

“In Sweden, parents bring their babies outside to nap in the open air, all year round. In Norway, Sundays are reserved for family time outdoors: hiking, cross-country skiing or taking a trip to a cabin in the country. And in Finland, the long-held tradition of roaming and foraging in the forest helps shape children’s identity for life. All are examples of friluftsliv, the age-old Nordic custom of connecting with nature in everyday life — a custom that profoundly shapes family life on these latitudes.

The term friluftsliv lacks an equivalent in the English language but is colloquially translated to “open-air life.” The Norwegian government defines friluftsliv as embracing nature and enjoying the outdoors as a way of life, saying, “friluftsliv offers the possibility of recreation, rejuvenation and restoring balance among living things.” Others describe it as living a simple life or a way of returning to our true home, nature. I like to think of friluftsliv as the outdoorsy cousin of hygge, the Danish concept of cozying up together with loved ones.”

We’ve gotten familiar with the concept of hygge lately, sitting by a warm fire in cozy clothing, drinking something nice from a hot mug, enjoying being inside and warm when it’s cold and dark outside. And this year, I’ve seen several bits of writing about “wintering” — giving ourselves time to slow down, rest, allow things to percolate in the dark.

And so which is it? It this the time of year to be cross-country hiking and foraging in the forest or the time to snuggle up warm inside and dream by the fire? Yes. It’s time for some of both. Which will you be doing this weekend?


Picture found here.

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