Today is the first day of spring, which, for me, is a day to admire the constant renewal of life in the world around us. More specifically, though, I always find myself thinking of Baldr, who (as many of us know) returns from Hel to restore life to the post-Ragnarok world.
As stanza 59 of Völuspá recounts:
“Without sowing the fields will grow,
all evil will be healed, Baldr will come.”
The picture below comes from a hike I made while staying in Ísafjörður last summer. I stopped along the mountainside (Eyrarhlíð, to be specific) to admire the view when I saw these flowers, shining with white and gold in the warm sunlight. Anyone familiar with Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda will know that Baldr is associated with a flower called Baldr’s Brow (Baldrs brá, or, scientifically, Matricaria maritima).
If I’m not mistaken (and I most certainly could be), these are that very flower; and so, it is to this memory that my mind wanders on this first day of spring, to that day when I was bathed in welcoming sunlight, hiking along an Icelandic fjord during the summertime, when life flourishes most strongly after its renewal in springtime.
- Carolyne Larrington trans., The Poetic Edda (repr., 1996; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 11. ^
- For context, see Snorri Sturluson, Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes (London: Everyman, 1995), 23. ^