|European robins are not messengers of spring.|
I thought I should lay low, I thought I should say hello. Today was groundhog day in Canada. He didn't see his shadow, and so it will be an early spring there. While, in my heart of hearts, I think that spring has landed in the west of Europe already.
One cold day in Ireland in the Connemara gealtacht, I was humiliated in front of my Irish-language class peers for foolishly saying that Spring began on March 21st. Then, even after demonstrating that I could understand the question in Irish and knew the months of the year, I was asked again, and so again answered that it began on the 21st of March. Apparently, Spring begins on the 1st of February in Ireland, and don't forget it! Though, I suppose that even when we lived in Paris (where it was Chandeleur today), it always seemed fairly Spring-ish by February, so maybe it is true, after all. I don't mean to suggest that I think it won't be cold again, because Spring can be cold. What I mean is that there's a feeling of Spring in the air, while back in Canada probably the only thing in the air is snow.
So, holding fast to the habits I was raised with, I am still burrowed away, bear-like, in my den -- all books and paintbrushes, tools to scrape away at copper plates, and long dreams in the still-dark mornings. There's life and candlelight in here though... soon maybe there might be some signs of life, in the way of a painting or etching.
Now off to bed I go, to study Russian, and think on Chinese New Year dragon dances. When I was young, I used to sort of think, that despite the peoples' legs sticking out, the dragon dances were danced by real dragons, hiding underneath the long dragon costume. And tomorrow, if we still lived in Japan, we would be throwing beans out from each window of the house and saying a chant to ward off any ogres that might think of stealing in and surprising us. Happy year of the rabbit!