Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Star stuff: Our spring equinox

All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star stuff.              
Carl Sagan, 1973 

Thankfully, after a long, bitterly cold, and snowy winter, tomorrow is the first day of spring. We started celebrating the vernal equinox the first spring after Ezra’s birth, and I felt like we were celebrating a true holiday. Garry and I were adopting new traditions that year, and rather than feeling forced, it felt sincere and special.

Spring, 2011

Our spring celebrations have been fairly low key involving hikes and picnics, egg hunts and baskets, a few decorations and dinner. Over the past three years my diligence in preparing for spring has waxed and waned. Last year, in particular, we neglected hiking, dyeing eggs, and dinner. We prepared a scavenger hunt for Ezra’s spring basket, which he enjoyed immensely, and we’ll do again this year. While I enjoy Ezra’s delight in receiving gifts, this year I want to pay more attention to spring through traditions that remind us of our emotional connection to nature and of our physical connection to the Earth and the cosmos. I also want his gifts to reflect the arrival of spring.

Over the next few days, we’re reading books about spring and the spring equinox, and I’ve planned a few, simple activities to return our focus to nature, our planet and sky.
  • This evening, we are germinating sprouting seeds in a jar allowing us to see up close what will be happening in nature and our garden
  • Tomorrow evening, we are dyeing eggs
  • Friday evening, we will examine the night sky for spring constellations and make our own paper constellations
  • Saturday, we are starting seedlings for our vegetable garden and potting indoor plants and violets for our front stoop
  • Sunday will start with a scavenger hunt followed by a hike, picnic, and hunt for spring ephemerals (wildflowers)
We’ll conclude with a holiday dinner. We’re trying a new recipe for pasta primavera and, with a nod to the Persian spring holiday, Nowruz, we’re making rosewater cupcakes for dessert.

It is my hope that our celebrations this year will set the tone and traditions for years to come.

(Sagan, Carl. 1973. The Cosmic Connection: an Extraterrestrial Perspective. Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, New York.)

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