The first day of spring got off to a rather chilly start. It was chilly and dry outside. As they assembled in the stone circle and faced the rising sun, the ground crunched beneath their feet.
The dozen people gathered in silent contemplation as the sun emerged through the barren woods.
The line of light illuminated the house and slope behind them as they thought about the changing season, hours before the vernal equinox. Birds began chirping soon after. Among the woods, a woodpecker was busy.
Spring was beginning with a promise of warmth. Columcille Megalith Park's surroundings were awakening.
The sunrise equinox celebration was once held in the Celtic park, which is known for its stone circles and other buildings. The arrival of spring may seem less significant after a weak winter, but that is just how life is, so all the more reason to rejoice.
Emma Ackerman, a board member of Columcille Megalith Park who oversaw Monday's dawn ceremony, noted that typically April arrives after a protracted wait, a long, bitter winter, and frost-bitten earth.
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"It's a time to celebrate the things that have been sleeping in the snow and welcome back the green and the growth —
the flowers beginning to blossom, the frost beginning to melt, the ice beginning to crack, and all of these things to offer we for new life and new light after a long period in the dark."
The winter of 2022–2023 didn't exactly go that way. There were extended periods of pleasant weather. Only a few little snowflakes.
This year's winter has been a little bit more challenging, said Ackerman. It's simple for the arrival of spring to make people feel a little less certain and assured.
But as spring approaches and the sun rises, it occasionally happens that things don't build naturally to a peak but instead creep up on you a little, as they sometimes do.
Yeah, it did feel as though a wretched winter was desperately clinging on in the wee hours of the morning. But in the early light, Monday was already warming up. The warmer weather will soon become permanent.