We had a sweet celebration of Imbolc, the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The ancients used this festival (also known as Brigid or Candlemass) to celebrate the tiny signs of spring in the dead cold of winter. The days are getting noticeably longer and the sheep have birthed their little lambs and their milk is running (the word Imbolc comes from "ewe's milk" in gaelic). This winter here has been warm and lacking in snow, so the sun was shining and the fields had a hint of green.
When the sun set we lit candles and sat in a circle with our friends and our children around a fire which people have been doing as long as there have been people.
We quietly (as quietly as you can with fifteen children) walked through the dark fields into the woods and tried to hoot so an owl would hoot back (February is when they are claiming their territory and nesting area so there is a better chance they might actually hoot back!)
Nobody hooted back, but it was nice to be out in the dark on a clear bright night.