I was so excited today on my walk to find coltsfoot blooming. They are always the first flowers of Spring here – tiny little suns announcing the true arrival of Spring.
We’ve had an especially hard Winter. During February and March we got our asses kicked by about ten feet of snow. There are still three to four foot drifts in places, but it’s been melting off – the glacier-like drifts have been receding to leave patches of green grass. I was just starting to feel like winter was really over, the snow had cleared from some of my gardens and I have baby seedlings sprouting happily on my windowsills. Daydreams of gardening barefoot, of camping, of leaves and green growing things have been interrupting my thoughts. Then I woke up this morning to a couple of inches of snow covering everything again in a thick downy blanket. There was some foul language muttered, maybe even some fist-shaking and cursing towards the windows.
But then the sun came out. There’s some real heat behind him now, he’s getting stronger, and it wasn’t long before the new snow had disappeared. The Sun won’t be in the peak of his energy until the solstice, but this is the time of year we first feel his growing strength. Just past the balance of the Equinox, the scales tip in the Sun’s favour again. Days are longer than the night and the Earth is responding to his energy.
Just as the greening of earth follows the growing strength of the sun, coltsfoot are sometimes called “The son before the father”, referring to it’s habit of showing flowers before any hint of green leaves. The leaves are good as a tea (or smoked, according to John Lust) for any respiratory ailments, so perfect for those spring colds we often get. My “Edible Wild Plants of Nova Scotia” book even has a recipe for coltsfoot cough drops.
But their best medicine for me is in just seeing them blooming after a long cold winter. It really always makes my heart beat faster, makes me grin like a loon, fills me with a giddy energy. Coltsfoot (coltsfeet?) make me feel just like that joyous little baby, arms spread wide, beaming in the Sun’s rays on the Waite-Smith Sun card. The child is riding away from the wall, symbolic of liberation, and after long months confined by Winter’s wrath, I too am feeling the joy of freedom.
This is the season of emergence, of green shoots bursting forth from the soil, but also emergence in the form of a more social time after winter’s insulated introversion. We, along with all the green growing things, experience a re-birth this time of year, as the Sun ignites new energy, passions, and vigor. A time of vitality and power.
The Sun card, like the coltsfoot, represents optimism and hope. The sun always follows night. Spring always follows winter. Hard times, like cloudy days, don’t last. Eventually, the sun always comes out again.
Happy Spring! 🙂