When society was agrarian “quarter day” meant payday, servants hired, school starts, rent due.
The first such calendar marker happens in February, although it is actually a “cross quarter” day, or the day midway between quarter days. February’s cross quarter day marks the slow return to Spring. In the Church the second of February is Candlemas; among the standing stones Imbolc. The secular society calls it Groundhog Day, but the impulse is the same: to bless the light and look for signs of spring; to honor the lower-case gods of late winter.
Whatever it’s called
Though winter draws to a close
Spring’s never soon enough
When I moved here four years ago, I marked Candlemas by gathering scavenged plants in unseasonal warmth, staging them in my unheated Breezeway. This year, like that one, we’ve had unseasonal warmth, and one of the most snow-free winters since they started keeping records.
It looks like winter
Even without the snow
But we need the spring
My crocus bulbs have not emerged, but the ground isn’t frozen. This marker of imminent spring is important, not just to gardeners, but to anyone walking past a garden. We know intellectually that spring is coming, just ask the Groundhog, but viscerally northerners always think (don’t deny it) that this is the winter that will not end after all.
Will winter ever end?
The crocus and snowdrops say
of course, don’t be daft
inadvertently appropriate for Haibun Monday at dverse 2/3/20: spring