The last three days of January are known throughout Italy as “i giorni della merla” – the days of the blackbird. According to tradition, these days are always bitterly cold and often the coldest three days of the year. Legend has it that the blackbird was once brilliant white but its plumage turned black forever after three days of sheltering in a chimney to escape the perishing cold.
Not this year.
The end of January 2016 has been incredibly mild. Mimosas are flowering and fruit trees seem to have fast-forwarded months. Yesterday as we pruned midday temperatures hit 20°C (68 F) and animals, farmer and plants alike are confused by the warmth, not to mention the curses echo-ing down from the green ski-slopes of Monte Amiata.
In the Celtic calendar today is Imbolc , the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. It is the time to commemorate the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year, a time for celebrating the sun and planting seeds both literally and metaphorically.
What better day to resume the writing of my blog?