Swamp Lantern (Lysichiton americanum -- aka Western Skunk Cabbage) emerges from the frigid, still waters of the swamp at Imbolc.
What waited all winter, dreaming beneath earth and water, is beginning to stir.
Heat builds in the spadix that will become a yellow flower as it grows toward the returning sun. It flows downward through the roots, warming the cold mud.
Soon the bears will awaken too, from long winter dreams where they heard the song the Swamp Lantern roots sang underground. Hungry, they will dig the roots and devour them.
Winter is still here, but life is stirring. Swamp Lantern comes ahead to prepare the way and open the gate, just as hir cousin, Skunk Cabbage, does in the eastern swamps of my childhood.
The blossoms that survive the bears will be dusted with pollen at Beltane, which I will use to anoint myself, blessing my body with blazing, ecstatic light and fire.
But for now, its the fire in my head that's blazing, as inspiration returns, and I engage with the world anew.