A Country Diary
Wednesday March 24, 1999
Wenlock Edge: The Equinox - equal night, equal day, a balancing act which winter will lose and spring will win. A strong wind surges along the Edge, rattling ash spears, chased by fierce showers through the woods and out across the fields. The sun flashes through cloud breaks as dazzling as the daffodils which look like luminous telephones to the earth and, as Shakespeare said, 'take the winds of March with beauty'. Cherry blossom, primrose, celandine, randy mobs of bluetits - whatever happens, the vernal fuse is lit. The brief warm spell seemed to signal a break with the past, a change which sweeps through many cultures in the northern hemisphere. This was the first day of Chaitra, first month of the Hindu lunar year and also the beginning of Fearn, the pagan Celtic month which runs until mid-April. The vernal equipnox is about beginnings in a cycle where Nature never really stops and both the Zoroastrian Jameshdi Noruz and the Baha'i Naw-Ruz are celebrations of a new year's day. Gales and storms are a feature of equinoxal lore and predict the weather until midsummer. A south-west wind is said to bring fine weather and a north-east one foul. This one swings in from the north-west, so I suppose it's anybody's guess. Whatever the future, today is about the year's germination and gardeners mutter incantations over their seeds, such as 'grow y'buggers'. Now, at the balancing, the mighty force of cotyledons powder out for the sun. The rain stops pelting but the wind keeps roaring, shaking the rookery lime trees and flinging rocks wildly into the sky, on a mission to tip the sun over the celestial equator, and make it officially spring.
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