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February

What fertile seed is beginning to grow down in the belly of your deepest being?  What’s shaking and quaking under the rich earth of You?  Miriam Dyak

It’s delicious riding the wave of infinite potentials, and then there comes a moment to shift out of the void, grab hold of your dream and leap into the Real.  It’s time to initiate.  Time to place your bet on your own creative power . . . Miriam Dyak

Can you feel it?  It rises up from someplace deep within the inertia of late January, someplace dark and mysterious and womb-like, and it stirs your inner embers and it gets you moving again in a fidgety spark-filled dance of something new not quite yet formed.  And you’re not sure what to do with yourself and you’re not alone in this — the crows, they feel it too, as they zig and they zag above the trails that you ski upon. And all this zigging and zagging, all this fidget-filled frenzy vibrating within you, all this crow-calling and crow-mating, it has a name and it happens every year as January spills over into February, every year as ridiculously short days begin to stretch themselves out again into a world of increasing brightness.  Half-way between the December solstice and the March equinox, it is winter’s mid-point, and the Celtic people call it Imbolc, the Old Gaelic word for “in the belly.”  It officially occurs on the second day of February, but its sparks start rumbling around in the belly’s depth a few days before and we feel its impact well into this month of growing light.  Brigid is patron saint of this marker on nature’s calendar, saint of healing and poetry and smithcraft, blesser of newborn lambs in the Irish countryside and blesser of our dreams, too, the ones deep in our bellies and bones awaiting to be born.

It started for me a few weeks back, in late January, on a five-day trip to the east coast to visit family and friends in Maine.  I think I know the moment that the seeds began to quiver.  I was with my friend Muriel and we had just wound down our day of parallel play together, writing and walking and catching up after a six-month hiatus, and we were hungry and, on Day One of my excursions to Maine, it has become a tradition for the two of us to eat out at our favorite Mexican-meets-coastal-Maine restaurant, El Camino.  On this particular night, the air was crisp and the stars were bright around a moon that was almost full, and we shivered as we made our way to the restaurant’s front door.

And then it happened as we stepped inside, not just a blast of welcoming warmth, but something else, too, something that took me aback.  It was the sea I smelled, not the frozen-beach-wintertime-sea that was rolling into the icy shore just miles away from this coastal town — it was fish and sunshine and salt and seaweed, a glorious assault to my senses, and I truly stood for a moment dumbfounded.  Maybe it was because I am a coastal girl and it had been six months since I had soaked in the salt air.  Maybe it was because I was extra hungry after our day of creative play and the food that smelled of the ocean was intoxicatingly inviting.  Maybe it was because the moon was full and spilling over and something in me was eager, too, to become full and ripe and spilling over.  It doesn’t matter the reason.  What I want to tell you is that everything became brighter for me that evening — the taste of peppers, cilantro, lime danced in my mouth, and the conversation Muriel and I struck up about projects yet to be birthed was filled with a deliciousness, too, of color and music and a full-body-shiver of excitement.  What I want to tell you is that my inner seeds, the ones that had been lying dormant during the cold still months of late autumn and early winter, began to dance inside of me and I was alive with it all, and I think, in those moments while feasting with Muriel, I just might have heard that Celtic goddess of poetry joining us in our dinnertime conversation.

Despite the catch-your-breath cold that lingered in the outside world for the rest of the trip to Maine, despite an even colder catch-your-breath landscape awaiting for me  when I returned to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this inner dance, this quivering color-filled excitement has continued to grow.  That’s what happens during February.  Seed catalogues start appearing in our mailboxes, the days, even when they are dipping below the zero mark, are brighter and longer, and those crows, the ones that were zigging and zagging in late January, have begun building their nests.  Things are astir.  I am astir.  I have started to paint again.  It was my passion to create art when I was a little girl, to pick up crayons and pastels, watercolors and charcoal pencils.  Time became malleable; hours seemed like minutes when I played with color and form on paper.  Around age ten, when perfectionism and expectation took over, I must have buried those seeds deep.  And, sure, occasionally I have felt their quivering over the years, perhaps at a Joy Center workshop or during an evening of collaging in my creativity room, but not like this.  And indeed, it was at a Joy Center watercolor workshop facilitated by my friend Penney the day after returning from the trip to Maine that my love for painting was ignited.  We painted Valentine roses that evening, gardens of color, bright and bold, each finished product as unique as the artist holding the brush.

You just don’t know what is going to be stirred up.  You just don’t know what seeds are going to begin their quivering.  That is not your job.  Maybe February is not supposed to be a clear focused image, not supposed to be about a sharp photo of that garden that will be in full bloom come August.  The crows are building their nests, but the eggs aren’t hatched yet.  The babies not yet born.  I’ve continued to paint these past few weeks.  It wasn’t something that I had written on my to-do list, not something that I had expected to rise up out of this Imbolc dance, not a part of the parallel play plan put into motion with my dear friend Muriel in Maine.  But I’m honoring it, the seeds of the moment that want attention.  And I can tell you this; I’m having a blast.  I’m on fire with excitement, delighted in the process of painting, delighted in the landscapes and flowers and Valentine hearts that show up on the paper. But, there is more to it.  I’m also on fire as I think about the other seeds, about the other possibilities, the ones that have been buried so deep in my marrow, the ones that want their chance, too, to rise up and nudge me into something new and alive, something expansive and fun and unexpected.  It’s that time of the year!  Here’s to the quivering seeds!  Here’s to February!

 

photo-29

What is ready to unfurl its blossoms and bring you delight?  Watercolor by Helen Haskell Remien with addition of Colleen O’Hara’s butterfly

 

 

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