“Shivering, Quivering, Warm Breath of Spring”
You’ll find them by the water’s edge their toes dug deep in frozen sands. Pussy Willows, soft furry catkins the genus salix, are hard won harbingers of the end of winter. Pussy Willows, accompanied by a chorus of Spring Peepers, start the glorious symphony that is the Northern Spring.
Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox, Ruthenian, Polish, Bavarian and Austrian Roman Catholics, Finnish Lutherans and Orthodox and various other Eastern European peoples carry pussy willows on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches. This custom has continued to this day among Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Ruthenian Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Kashubian Catholic and Polish Catholic emigrees to North America. Sometimes, on Palm Sunday they will bless both palms and pussywillows in church. The branches will often be preserved throughout the year in the family’s icon corner.
And thank you, Gordon Lightfoot for your “Pussy Willows and Cattails”