Thursday, 19 March 2015

17. Shamrock and heather

In honour of St Patrick's Day I went looking for shamrock. I knew where to look, as white clover grows amongst the thyme on the Lughnasa mounds - and shamrock, of course, is not a separate species but young clover, or seamr√≥g in Irish. It was one of those days when everyone smiles: blue sky, warm sun, birds singing and the feeling that the energy of spring is now unstoppable.  

I found my little piece of shamrock, but what really caught my attention was the loud buzzing of bumblebees feeding on the purple flowers of spring heather growing nearby. There were four, five, six or more bees bumbling about, soaking up the sunshine and the early nectar.

Look closely...
Bees and honey were revered in Celtic tradition, and honey has a long tradition of being fermented to make mead, a drink associated with heroes and the gods. Early Christian monasteries like Brigit's in Kildare would have kept bees for honey and mead.

Standing in the Garden with heather and shamrock in my hand I felt like a bumblebee - energised by the spring sun and foraging for the sweetness of life.

...and spot the bumblebee

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