“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.

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IMG_1601eWP    shiveringquiveringwarmbreatheWP
From Wikipedia:

The flowering shoots of pussy willow are used both in Europe and America for spring religious decoration on Palm Sunday, as a replacement for palm branches, which do not grow that far north.

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”

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16 thoughts on ““Shivering, Quivering, Warm Breath of Spring”

      • Cleaning, moving sand, scrubbing, painting, re-supplying, washing walls…spring cleaning etc. The bonus is you live at the lighthouse.

      • Oh no. We should be so lucky. I take a couple weeks of work duty there during the year. Michigan has a lot of coast line and therefore a lot of lighthouses.

      • It is a working holiday. We’ve had problems in the past of volunteers thinking it was a holiday but it requires a great deal of dedicated work. It’s not for the lazy. What’s best about the off season is that their aren’t many guests so if you need a break due to pain from knee or hip surgery problems OR because a large Snowy Owl just landed under the fog horn house you can take that break…and make up that time off later. During the regular season we are not allowed that flexibility. Off season rocks in many ways…but it’s not for slackers.

      • Mmm…I put up a short video and a few photos from inside the lighthouse. I had planned to do a post showing what we do.

        Go to http://splka.org for info on how to become a keeper at our lights. 🙂

    • There is the melting ice and snow and the flocking northwards of birds but those pussy willows are the real, tangible proof that trees and flowers will soon awaken. I’ve become quite fond of them and it is a delight to enjoy them in the golden hours.

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