This is the time of year when I start looking for magic. The time when I start digging into drawers or boxes. During the long winter it is easy to forget about the light, forget that things can bloom vibrant. It is easy to forget the feeling of finding a small flower growing alone at the base of a tree trunk, or a small treasure finding its way into your palm. The smell of solid perfume trapped inside my great grandma’s locket lost to me inside a jewelry box. The fuzzy buds of apple trees. I think this is the reason Spring cleaning makes sense. Not just as a clearing out, making space for new growth. In garden beds as well as in your garage shelves or nightstand drawers.
There are tiny sprouts in the front bed of my house underneath the low windows. This will be my first spring in a new home. All of the sprouts hold the magic of the unknown. What will they become? What has grown here, ready to come again. How will we inhabit this space together, the sprouts and I?
One of the ways I find magic in the restlessness of this shifting season, has become a ritual. Every year around this time, I watch 리틀 포레스트 (Little Forest). This movie is full of small magic. The joy of small sprouts and slow cooked food eaten with company. Every year this movie reminds me to look for the small remnants left in the cupboards, to remember my ability to create from scant stores and deep hunger.
“If I stay till the spring’s spirits break through the winter, will I find my answers?”
긴 겨울을 뚫고 봄에 작은 정령들이 올라오는 그때까지 있으면 해답을 찾을 수 있을까
—Hye-won (리틀 포레스트)
The Worm moon marks the true stirring of spring, the little critters deep under the earth beginning to shimmy their way up toward the light again, feeding birds and tilling the earth from within. There is an energy humming within us, a waking and a shimmying outwards after a season of deep work. As your internal thawing and stretching begins, how can you bring your attention to the small joys, awaken to delight and life again as if wiggling your fingers at the end of a long meditation? The following is a bibliomancy offering from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. Ross Gay’s work is a space where I can always find the power of small joys, and I hope this helps activate your delight muscles.
excerpt from “Patience”
and yes, it is spring, if you can’t tell
from the words my mind makes
of the world, and everything
makes me mildly or more
hungry— the worm turning
in the leaf mold; the pear blooms
howling forth their pungency
like a choir of wet-dreamed boys
hiking up their skirts; even
the neighbor cat’s shimmy
through the grin in the fence,
and the way this bee
before me after whispering
in my ear dips her head
into those dainty lips
not exactly like entering a chapel
as if that wasn’t enough
blooms forth with her forehead dusted pink
like she has been licked
and so blessed
by the kind of God
to whom this poem is prayer.
As the moon ripens to its full silver glow on the 18th, on the precipice of the Spring Equinox, I want to draw you back to ritual, to small joy and its ability to sustain. What fills you up when you feel emptied out in the pursuit of answers?
To welcome you into the collective shifting of warmth and energy in our world, I give you another bibliomantic offering. This one from Monty Don’s Down to Earth, which has become another ritual space for me in this season.
“I don’t think that anything makes me happier than an April evening spent preparing the ground and sowing veg seeds for a summer harvest while the garden settles gradually around me. All winter, the ground lies cold and wet, but when that clammy chill in the hand is replaced by warmth, and as the soil responds to the caress of a rake preparing a tilth, it is as though I am returned to the rightful earth.”
How can you build small patterns into your day to fill yourself up? What generosity is already in front of you, waiting to be accepted? What seeds can you plant now, under the light of the full moon that will allow you to feed yourself and others?
These seeds and rituals are small things, repetitive and vivid. How can you keep your hands dug into their soil to feel their warmth on your skin? How do you wait for them to germinate, to sprout?
“Potatoes are planted first in the spring.
봄에 처음 심는 것 중에 감자가 있다
Though it is cold, the ground’s warmth pushes the potato sprouts out.
아직 춥지만 땅 속 옮기는 감자 싹을 품어 밖으로 튀어 낸다
The sprouts, the flowers, and bearing crop…
싹이 나오고 꽃이 피고 열매를 맺는
it all takes time.
You have to wait.
You must wait.
You have to wait to taste the best food.
기다릴 줄 알아야 최고로 맛있는 음식 맛 볼 수 있어
You can get spring greens for free, but potatoes take hard work.”
봄나물은 빵이나 나무에서 공을 얻지만 잠자는 노동과 땀이 필요하다
—Hye-won (리틀 포레스트)
Jenni Ashby is a grower; of words, children, plants, community. She is invested in people and process, and believes that every creator needs someone to champion their ideas/vision/projects: to be a voice of encouragement and inspiration louder than the self-doubt that can easily take over in moments of isolation. Jenni received her MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University and is currently studying with Cornerstone Birthwork Training as a Full Spectrum Birthworker. She lives in Colorado Springs, CO with her partner, sons, and cat.
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