Now comes Bealtaine, following close on the heels of the snows.
Now comes the great flush of life unleashed from long months bound deep in ice: muskrat pouring through fresh-thawed waters, common loon and trumpeter swan riding south winds to boreal lakes, the rise of the yellow warbler calling sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet.
Mallard pair feeding side by side in the water meadow along the creek. Great Horned Owls roost in a tall willow, guarding their adolescent owlet, still tawny fuzz. Raccoon in twilight flowing up the stucco of neighbor's garage and in through the opening in the window frame, where she may be raising kits.
Everything swishing, splashing, rushing, shaking off the shackles of winter and hurrying to claim breeding territory, find food, arrange the world more to their liking.
Warm winds, changeable cloud stretched in streamers. Soft gray fur of the pussy willow. Whistle of the cardinal, the last full moon of April shedding her radiance on the mortal world like the Queen of the May.
New buds held tight, pointed green origamis bobbing tenderly in the wind. Browns of winter threaded with small green, a salad of golden caterpillar catkins, crisp willow leaves, soft moss and rolled, purple-green spears of bloodroot.
Following the travels of a pilgrim walking the Old Way to Canterbury, who ended his pilgrimage at dawn today by the edge of the sea. A stained glass journey in song, words and dreamlike images of the countryside, its sacred wells. Waymarkers, holloways, spirals of shell-fans with bone china ridges. A book of holy days, with the tale ending (or beginning?) on the great pagan fire festival as the rising tide of life is renewed, remade, released into the wild air to reanimate the earth.
I kindle no hilltop fire today but in my heart. I smell no blossom but in memory. Yet I light a candle for the holy day.
This morning's rain clouds shall pass as warmer air blows in from the south this afternoon. What I will pack for a ramble to observe this day: the lovely book I'm reading, notebook and pen for nature jottings, the last of the trail mix. And a reverence for spring, whose red-winged blackbirds float over waterlands, calls ringing through the cattails as they claim each moment of this fast-slipping life for their own.