The beginning of February is a meaningful time for adherents of a variety of earthbound traditions. In the Netherlands it used to be celebrated, mostly in rural communities, as “Lichtmis”, literally Lightmas.
It marks the first beginnings of spring. I did not feel it, yet. I like winter itself, but towards the end I always go through a tough time. Like many other people, the lack of light and the cold makes me drowsy and inert. It is a physical thing, and by keeping busy I usually manage to keep depression at bay. While I enjoy the cosiness of the dark evenings, I am just in a much better shape in spring and summer. Today, I noticed a change in the light for the first time. The sun was shining with vigour between the icy showers. The unexpected warmth on my back as I rode my bike into town reminded me that spring will come again soon. Just weeks from now, everything will start fresh and anew. I’m looking forward to the advent of the first light green leaves in my garden.
I love the seasons. And even though Dutch seasons are pretty bland compared to other places (we usually get plenty of rain in all four of them), I would not want to miss them for the world. The wheel of the year marks the ups and downs all people must invariably have. The seasons of the world outside take us on an inner journey. This time of winter is my downtime, which is by no means less valuable than the highly busy frenzy of summer. Like bulbs, we need to sleep a while in order to grow again.


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