The restaurant — hole-in-the-wall with age-darkened brick wallpaper, old-lady peony-pink damask table cloths, the color my Chicago adopted grandmother used to like in homemade church blouses, eyelet white lace curtains festooned with paper ribbons in the ceiling, entwined with silk flower vines, glitter easter-eggs, feather butterflies in “old-lady chic” the guidebook calls it, ribbons hanging from the trophy animals, dusty green-red pheasant I can’t see his tail, two deer heads with gold mardi gras beads wrapped ’round dead necks and antlers, soft orange carrot salad a feast of hunter’s stew between potato pancakes plump meat chunks tucked in a surprise the old man with Andy Warhol hair arguing cheerfully with the middle-aged waiter reading a conservative fantasy novel, this food is better than your mother’s he says with a straight face, expecting the rejoinder as my husband checks out, tart herbaceous currant juice, the color of crushed berries — it tastes like secrets –
Imbolc, though most often observed on the first of February, approximately half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, is more than a celebration of a day. Historically it marks the season of lambing and lactation in the ewes – the old Irish Imbolg meaning in the belly, and the medieval Oimelc, meaning ewes milk. In this respect, Imbolc is a season and the heralding celebration was often observed as much as two weeks before or after the beginning of February.
Deep Winter here, and as one does, I dream of Spring.
According to Classicist M. L. West, “Swinging is a recurrent feature of Indo-European springtime and midsummer festivities.”
Sure enough: in Hindu India, in ancient (and modern) Greece and Rome, in Russia, in the Balkans, in the Baltics: springtime (often Easter) is when you hang a swing from the leafing-out branch of a tree and jump on for a ride (and better it be if it's with a buddy). Half the Latvian Easter dainas that I've seen focus on swinging. There's said to be a sympathetic correlation between how high one swings and how high the crops will stand in the coming growing season.