It finally looks like Winter out. On March 1st. Better late than never!
There has been much lively discussion on the Media and in Real Life about the weather this Winter, or lack thereof. Winter sports enthusiasts have been quite disappointed, folks with an eye on their heating bills have not. Mud season has been in a sort of suspended animation, and the kids have learned that near-frozen mud can be just as slick as ice. It has been a Winter unlike any I can remember.
The farmer in me wants to be alarmed, for Winter not found within its normal confines means it’s on the loose and can be found lurking about at any time, hindering growing plans. But the impartial observer in me says all the seasons fluctuate in duration and intensity, why not Winter for once? It’s natural for all elements of our environment to vary.
So why am I missing those blustery, frozen days? The Internal Clock, I suppose. My body, brain and being are all used to taking a break during those dark, cold months. My metabolism is used to a respite. My landscape is used to a respite. My summer wardrobe is used to a respite. The load of paperwork in my office is used to me taking a respite from the field to catch up on it.
My kids are used to a season of confinement and constraint, of focus on school studies and building up dreams of what to do with next Summer’s freedom. They are used to those sledding forays from which they invariably return frozen, no matter how much clothing and accessories I pile on. There has been markedly less hot cocoa this season.
This is where we live. In the Northeast. Where there’s Winters. And snow. And cold. We need these things to better appreciate the sun, heat and activity of Summer. Our bodies are accustomed to the down-time, and just like the plants and flowers who subsist on photosynthesis, we find that it is not only the light, but the periods of dark that are necessary for proper metabolism.
It is in the Darkness we find beauty in the Light. It is in the darkest of Winter when we learn the true meaning of Faith, to hold fast to the knowledge that no matter how cold and dark, Spring must surely come.
We will again by Summer’s end take the warmth and light for granted, and be ready for another break in the hard work of farming. We wonder then how we will ever go through a growing season again, the hours so long and the list of jobs endless. We will be ready once more for a purging of cold, of stillness, of waiting. It is in this crucial time we are recharged, and motivated anew to take on another season of the triumph and tragedy that is farming.
I would not have it any other way.