Up until last year I followed the astrological calendar. Not intentionally mind you, but because as a child on the first of February every year I weaved rushes over one another twisting and folding with small hands to celebrate the feast of St. Bridget and the first day of spring. The dark days of winter were over and we were all excited about the new season and longer, brighter, warmer days. I felt even the teachers had an extra spring in their step. In the astrological calendar spring falling at the beginning of February (or a week-ish later if you're being particularly pedantic) is determined by summer solstice - mid-summer - the longest day of the year. This happens around June 21st, so summer officially begins a month and a half earlier at the beginning of May, and February marks the start of spring.
Then I wrote this post last year and discovered that according to according to Met Éireann and the meteorological calendar - the calendar that goes by climate and temperature - spring actually starts in March and the summer months are June, July and August.
But what about the third train of thought... trusting our instincts and going with what feels right. For me, the seasons are as much about a feeling as they are about a calendar date. This year I lit fires in February, battened down the hatches to bitterly cold storms, and just yesterday walked alongside still barren, skeletal trees. While I look forward to winter coming to an end in the next couple of weeks, I still feel the cold dark days are very much with us. Seasons are a state of mind followed by a state of being. Next year spring may come a little sooner but right now I'm curling up in front of fires, warming pyjamas on radiators and making hot chocolate for cold, red nosed, rosy cheeked boys...
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home" - Edith Sitwell
It takes me a little while to adjust to every new season. The light is definitely brighter, a change is on the way, but I haven't started adjusting just yet.