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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In the Heart of Winter

It's late January, and my almond tree is blooming.

What makes that so surprising is that I live in Minnesota.

I've long joked that I'm a Mediterranean trapped in the body of a Northern European. (The quip would actually read more accurately as “...having a perfectly fine time in the body of....”) Civilized people drink tea and wine and cook with olive oil. Barbarians drink coffee and beer and cook with (ugh) butter. Not that there's anything wrong with barbarism, understand. Some of my best friends.... And since I've certainly put away my share of brews down the years, I suppose that by my own definition that would make me semi-barbarous. Fine. See if I care.

Why in the world am I living in Minnesota, one might wonder? Short answer: love. But that's a story for another night. Right now it's late January and my almond tree is blooming. I just can't look at it enough.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Let me add: in a world of resin repros, Constance speaks the truth of terracotta.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    True story: when I got back from P-con, I hung the little Bell Goddess on a branch of the almond tree, which was budded out but no
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Hey Steven, Glad to see you put my little Goddess to use. I think I remember you buying it at PantheaCon a few years ago. I live
  • Miles Gerhardson
    Miles Gerhardson says #
    So interesting to hear that here in Minnesota, where I reside also, that people actually DO grow such plants/trees. Wonderous!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I hear (how did I not know about this?) that there are hot springs down by Mankato that have created around them a semi-tropical m

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Groundhog

The sacred dances of Winter's magical midpoint—now a mere fortnight away—have long been the stomp-dances that rouse the seeds and animals that sleep within the frozen Earth.

We generally begin our February Eve doings with just such a dance, turning to the farthings and calling in turn upon their respective animal powers, the hibernating and migrating beings whose stirring marks the turning towards Spring. In the traditional Appalachian song which accompanies this dance we call to Groundhog, Redbird, Rattlesnake, and Muskrat. Those who associate Four Elements with the quarters will not have far to seek.

Groundhog, the holiday's eponymous patron, is also known in American English as Woodchuck, a variant (by folk etymology) of Cree ochek, a name which inspired the playful tongue-twisting folk query:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck [= toss]

if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

 

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