Here is a legend taken from the book "The Mammoth Hunters" by Jean Auel, one of my favorite series. I love her use of description and learning how a long time ago people lived with deep reverence to Earth Mother.
"Sit down, I'll tell you a winter story about the Great Bountiful Earth Mother who created all that lives," the old man said, smiling. Ayla sat beside him on a mat near the fire.
"In a great struggle, the Earth Mother took a life force from Chaos, which is a cold and unmoving emptiness, like death, and from it she created life and warmth, but She must always fight for the life she created. When the cold season is coming on, we know the struggle has begun between the Bountiful Earth Mother who wants to bring forth warm life, and cold death of Chaos, but first she must care for her children.
Ayla was warming to the story, now and smiling encouragingly. "What does She do to care for Her children?"
"Some she puts to sleep, some She dresses warmly to resist the cold, some She bids gather food and hides. As it gets colder, death seems to be winning, the Mother is pushed back father and farther. In the depths of the cold season, when the Mother is locked in the battle of life and death, nothing moves, nothing changes, everything seems to be dead. For us, without a warm place to live and the food that is stored, death would win in winter; sometimes, if the battle goes on longer than usual, it does. no one goes out much, then. People make things, or tell stories, or talk, but they don't move around much and they sleep more. That's why winter is called the little death."
"Finally, when the cold has pushed Her down as far as She will go, She resists. She pushes and pushes until She breaks the back of winter. It means spring will return but it is not before She can bring forth life again. But you know She has won. You can smell it, you can feel it in the air."
I have definitely been feeling winter leaving my bones and the life of spring coming into my spirit. I feel more alive and a surge of creativity has crept in. This Friday in celebration of spring we took a nature walk to the arboretum. It was a lovely day as the children found the freedom one finds when surrounded by trees, a wide open blue sky, singing birds and nurturing adults. It was a pause into the moment where we stopped to observe the coming forth of new life, new buds, flying geese and the smell of fresh earth. As I watched the children run, skip, roll down a hill that was most recently covered in snow I reveled at their wonder. As springs comes upon us I feel stirrings of new life within and as I watch these little people live in the moment I feel stirrings of inner growth.