Freddie Mercury and the Flicker

The birds are awake again; it's not just me. Suddenly, the shy Bewick’s wren is darting through the snowberry. I haven't seen her move that fast for months. And the Northern flickers are calling, a kee-kee-kee siren of spring, while they flash their red underwings, like a gentleman with satin scarlet flashing from inside his overcoat. 

Is it spring? Is it?

It feels like it. Though the official first day is still six weeks away, spring equinox on March 21… But I have heard it said that maybe this calendar is off just a touch, like a clock that is 90 minutes slow… I have heard it said that, in other times, the equinoxes and solstices were celebrated as the peaks of the seasons rather than their beginnings, and that the seasons began with the cross quarter holidays: the start of summer on May 1, its peak June 21... the start of fall on August 2, its peak September 21. Halloween as the door that opens to winter’s rush...

Right now I like this idea, because that would make tomorrow the first day of spring and there is something about naming a threshold that brings it to life, something about naming in general … Well. There is this: Last night I spent some time in a lovely conversation about the power of naming and patterns, and also the importance of mystery, which is entered, and persists, and changes the pattern. I am thinking about that conversation. Who can say where the seasons begin and end? Who can pattern that mystery and have it hold?

And yet…I wouldn’t mind saying “first day of spring” soon.

Yesterday after I untied the unintended hexagram, I walked down to the creek under bright skies. Lately, I've been listening to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury singing “Under Pressure” as I walk, over and over. On Friday night, I told my friend Quinn about this song. I think he rocks David Bowie and I told him I want to do this as a duet. He looked at me like I had just told him I wanted to wreck a train and handed him a ticket. “Really?” he said. “It is my Karaoke Mt. Everest,” I told him. “Okay,” he said, then nodded. “Okay.”

So I’ve been listening, over and over, as I walk past the still bare birch trees, and Freddie Mercury calls like the boldest Flicker: “Ee-dee-dah! Ee-dah-bah! Give love give love give love.”

But yesterday I forgot my phone and the wind was wild in the trees and then gone, wild and gone, subtle percussion. The meadow was deep with mud and tender grass and down by the creek I found the materials for the new star I'll make tomorrow, for Imbolc, February 2, which I may or may not call the first day of spring… which I may or may not see as Spring’s open door. Down by the creek, below the bridge, there is a stand of wild roses, and the broken canes lay across the path, green and pliable and cut down by some wind or branch or beast. I gathered them up, five in all– arching six-foot stems some – and carried them, verdant banner waving, up the hill to my home.