Ontluikend_blad_van_Meidoorn_(Crataegus)._Locatie,_Natuurterrein_De_Famberhorst_02Spring is here.

The time between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice is my favourite time of year. There is so much change and life seems to be literally pushing itself back into existence after the darkness of the Winter months.

I know, I know, for quite a few of you Winter is your favourite time of year, but darkness, wet, and mud aren’t my thing. It’s probably why hundreds of years ago my some of my deep ancestors legged it from Denmark and made their way to Southern England to settle down with the natives and the sunshine.

I have a little annual ritual I do at this time of year.

I will watch for the green blush of the Hawthorn returning and, once the fresh young leaves take their shape, I’ll approach one of the trees, bow, and welcome back the Green Man. Then I will ask if I can have one of those fresh leaves. If I am allowed I’ll then gently pluck one, and eat it. Hawthorn leaves are edible and have an amazing nutty flavour. They used to be a common salad food called Bread and Cheese, but the leaves have to be young – after the Solstice once they turn a darker green they become quite tough, so now is the time to eat them.

But I just take that one leaf.

The flavour is an anchor – just as the smell of Frankincense has been linked in my consciousness to magic, so the taste of the fresh, young Hawthorn lets me know completely, and without doubt, that Winter has gone, and Spring is here.

As I walked Oscar yesterday I found a tree, welcomed the Green One back, and took a leaf, eating it right there in the sunshine. As I sit here typing the Sun is shining and a warmth is there. I know it could change, but for my plant-like tendencies I think my eyes will just soak up that light and send all of that good solar energy to every cell in my body.