This is Persephone, Greek goddess of spring growth. Legend has it that when walking through a flower meadow, the beautiful Persephone was cruelly abducted by Hades and carried off to the underworld as his bride. Her distraught mother Demeter scoured the world in search of her and refused to let the earth fruit until her daughter was returned. Although Zeus, king of the gods allowed Persephone to return to her mother, he ordered that because she had tasted the fruits of the underworld – seven pomegranate seeds – she must spend a portion of the year back in the underworld with her husband. The green shoots of spring mark the elation her mother felt on her coming back to the earth whereas her return each year to the underworld was the Greek’s explanation for the winter with its dying plants and darkness.
Spring is incredibly eagerly awaited in England and the favorite season of many Londoners. After the cold, rain-soaked winter, all the London parks go to town on plantings of jewel-coloured polyanthus, nodding headed daffodils and upstanding tulips which bravely resist the wind and April showers. Only the other day, I wandered past the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly, to St James’s. That is the park which spreads out like the huge front garden of Buckingham Palace and was where Catherine Middleton and Prince William drove past wellwishers in their open topped carriage after their wedding.
On any Spring day, the world and his wife (and their children) can be found in St James’s Park enjoying the greenery and the lake. A great favourite are the dozens of different varieties of ducks and Canada geese which are so tame you can feed them out of your hand. I have never written a Regency novel, but I plan to. The London parks saw many Regency dandys promenade, waiting for the ladies to stroll up and down in their finery, each trying to outdo the other.
Spring gets us all out and about in England after the post-Christmas hibernation and I recently visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, Hampshire and have blogged about it at My Blog: On Writing, Reading & Living in London . The spring garden there is superb – very small but full of forget me nots and herbs, mint, rue and chamomile which Jane, and her sister Cassandra would use in the kitchen. Although they lived in a pleasant little house it was nothing like the huge estates of Pride and Prejudice. For being the daughter of a clergyman she was not chosen to take over the living of a great house in the way that her lucky brother was who was picked by a wealthy relative to be master of a big estate. Jane’s brother however provided for his sisters by allowing them to live in the charming cottage in Chawton village rent free. Spring in an English village is delightful, with newborn lambs in surrounding fields and pure azure bluebells carpeting the beech woodlands. I love America and have been on numerous occasions – San Francisco is vibrant, the Grand Canyon spectacular and New York as exciting as London town. But there is a soft, gentleness to England in the spring, like the welcoming back of a young and vibrant friend who’s been away. It touches all our hearts with new hope that Summer is finally knocking on the door and waiting to be let in.
My Spring this year has been particularly exciting as I have just signed my first contract with Astraea press for my soon to be released book, ‘The Sanctuary’. Set by the sea on an island off the English coast. It involves a legacy, a teenager with a troubled past and an animal sanctuary. I’m so looking forward to seeing the cover work and to chatting with readers. I’ve been published for many years in England and am delighted to now be ‘over the pond’! My website is under construction so it’s a busy Spring for me this year. Thanks so much Joanne for welcoming me to your blog.
Cara, I'm glad you guested today and shared with us about Spring and gave us a glimpse into Ancient Greece and your neck of the woods in London! :)
Hope you all can stay for a bit to chat with Cara and you can connect with her online here: