Spring sign #1: Yellow crocuses in a sea of brown and grey. Photo: Sara Jeswani.
I’m on my way to work when I see a man and his little son suddenly crouching down in front of a heap of brown, dead leaves. Their heads move together, studying something very closely. My curiosity is awaken. What can be so interesting among a bunch of old leaves?
As I get closer, it’s obvious. Bright yellow crocuses glow beneath the brown and grey.
Spring sign #2: Willow buds. Photo: Sara Jeswani.
Now, this isn’t just any little yellow flower. This is a Sign of Spring, which in Sweden is something almost sacred.
My blog colleague Kate is in good company when she starts looking for spring signs , since it’s actually something of a folk sport.
This time of the year everyone does it: Children, adults, farmers and city dwellers, newspapers (article in Swedish) and television programs.
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The Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla Vulgaris in Latin). It might look small, but it’s obviously strong enough to stop a whole construction project. Photo: Stan Shebs (CC GNU)
I’ve always been very fascinated by the stories I’ve heard of road projects being stopped in Iceland because a specific patch of ground was said to be the home of elves or other mystic creatures. I don’t know if there is any truth in these stories (maybe someone else knows?) and perhaps it’s just another national stereotype but somehow it’s a nice idea that non-material values are allowed to decide once in a while.
Now I read a Swedish story that reminds me of this. In the municipality of Linköping [map] the local authorities had planned to exploit a piece of land to give space for an industrial area. But then a rare flower, the Pasqueflower, was found in large quantities. The Pasqueflower is placed under protection and it’s prohibited to pick it or dig it up from the ground.
So the authorities decided to stop he whole project. Now they are investigating if the land could be used as pasture so that the Pasqueflower can thrive.
1-0 to Nature..?