Who where what when witch wu spring
Spring is sprung
the grass is ris
I wonder where the birdies is
They say the bird is on the wing
But that’s absurd
the wing is on the bird.
I cannot begin to think of spring without reciting, sometimes in my head and other times out loud, this childhood favourite poem. I have always believed it to be penned by Spike Milligan.
But in writing my own homage to spring I have discovered that – although often attributed to Ogden Nash and made famous by Spike Milligan – its origins possibly go back much further, with several variations, and the author was most likely that most famous and prolific of all ‘Anonymous’.
This discrepancy is to me quite indicative of the whole question of and various answers to ‘when does spring begin?’ Of course, we all know that the Chinese New Year begins with the Spring Festival on varying dates according to the lunar and solar calendars.
And this Year of the Yin Water Rabbit is going to be a good one – I have decided and proclaimed that. Because I turn 60 this year and 60 is special, right? Even, one might say, auspicious.
Anyway, back to my question of when does spring start. According to my go-to source of all things UK time and space related, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, there are three main starts to spring.
There’s the meteorological start on 1 March, the astrological start at the vernal/spring equinox around 20 March, and the phenological, starting on varying dates depending on when the first daffodils bloom and animals come out of hibernation. Hmm, a bit tricky to pin that last one down…
But of course, there are other traditional beginnings to spring too. Imbolc falls on the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox – although this now seems to be celebrated on 1 or 2 February along with St Brigid’s Day, Candlemass, and Groundhog Day, regardless of when the midpoint actually falls.
Incidentally, the midpoint fell this year on 4 February, which I am reliably informed by my 2023 Chinese Astrology Calendar is the day that the Rabbit energy fully arrived with us. But please don’t ask me to elaborate on that last little snippet of information. I’m only just beginning (make that scratching the surface of) my learning journey into stems and branches.
Just going back to St Brigid for a moment, if I may. There appears to be some disagreement as to who is actually celebrated on her day. Is it the Christian St Brigid of Kildare, matron saint of Ireland? Or is it the Celtic goddess of fertility, spring and life, Brigid/Brigit/Bride/Bridget? There’s good reason to believe that it’s actually both, as you can explore in this little gentle detour of discovery.
Bouncing forward to spring again. In my experience – taking into account that spring is the season when we emerge from our sleepy wintering, start gently moving and growing, putting our dreams and visions into action, making changes, feeling motivated once again – it just seems to occur energetically speaking sometime around the end of February/beginning of March. Or to put it another way, it all starts happening in the two- to three-week lead up to the spring equinox.
Another final mention here for the rabbit, an animal often associated with all things spring. As I write this in the rabbit month, let me put into the equation that I am also a rabbit – and as you’ll have noticed, it’s just a natural tendency for me to investigate a question by exploring no end of rabbit holes, thus finding many interconnected answers.
Drawing all this back in to make sense in terms of acupuncture – and with the improved clarity of vision that comes with spring – one thing at least is becoming clear to me. Getting to know the stems and branches will be The Way to connect all the dots and dates in order to keep in flow with the constantly moving seasons.