Blessed Imbolc! … I have been wanting to say “bless-ed” as in “to make sacred,” for a while now and playing with it’s many meanings in my mind. Overthinking things as usual… Someday I might even subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary because I love considering the etymology of words. And I believe, as some say, that words are spells. Plus, I was bored with myself always saying, “Happy whatever…” Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just me.
I love to celebrate this old Gaelic seasonal festival as a time to make concrete plans for planting, in hopes for a bountiful season and set my own intentions for the year ahead. And sit in the evening with only candle light. In history and folklore there are really interesting stories about this time of year as “tending flames that we hope will not go out.” (That’s from Sharon Blackie.)
Thinking of this as a season to relish, slowing down to take time to rest and reflect without the expectation of a specific “output,” helps me see this as a sacred, blessed time, instead of a time to simply get thru until the real work of growing can start. After all, the real work of growing involves cycles that require rest, just ask or watch the plants.
In early November, these small carrots and beets were like the runts of the litter from our bountiful harvests. The larger veggies already gone to good homes. They sat, with their greens attached, in my fridge for well over 2 months.
When I pulled them out and cleaned them, they seemed a beautiful and vibrant reminder of all we grew last year. Now they feel like gold and make me think of sunshine, perfect for an Imbolc feast, which was how they were enjoyed. My brother and sister-in-law came to dinner and we feasted on these roasted veggies, along with potatoes we also had stored, beef raised by Roxbury Farm, and lemon cake, again homage to the sun.
February can be a hard month in more northern climates. There are lots of reasons to celebrate the start of the month and the whole month. I am always for more celebrations! Since it’s the old agricultural calendar that resonants with my soul, I would offer, Blessed Imbolc to everyone!!!
Words by Melissa MacKinnon, SiCM’s Farms Manager