It seems odd to be planning a garden when it is so very cold outside. Right now, the ground is frozen solid. I could not even put a seed in the ground if I wanted to . . . but soon, within weeks, we will need to have lettuce in the ground, spinach started, peas to watch shoot up. Soon.
But not yet, today, today we are in the world of bright blue skies, where the trees are still barren and sketched like kaleidoscopes against the sky. Today, when I step out, my lungs with burn at the edges with the cold, and if I stay out long enough, my nostril hairs will freeze. I love these days.
In these winter days, we cannot do so much as plan. We must settle into this space and be with it – in it’s many dark hours and in the time of yarn and cups of hot tea. We cannot rush about with hours of daylight beyond dinner to get more done. We can only be here, and plan a little.
I wonder if this is why warmer climates with longer days revel in the siesta and the late evening . . . because they can. And yet, they know they cannot – as Americans have yet to learn – push on indefinitely without rest. So the plan it – close shop doors, take deliberate naps, and then celebrate life into the evening, rested, joyful again.
Yet, we take pride in this busyness, in this never-ending list of things we must do. We judge when others do not DO but simply are. As if there is no gift in just being. I do the same. I look at my grandparents and wonder how they can possibly enjoy not doing anything. I think of old men in rockers on front porches and wonder how they can possibly enjoy the time to simply sit.
Then, I remember, being a teenager and sitting by the highway on break from Dayspring. Just me and some other girls on a bench, waving to traffic. I looked forward to those moments every day. Those moments to not do anything – no agenda, no list of tasks. Nothing.
Today, when the ground is frozen solid and the air too crisp to breath for long, I will take as my small farm task the time I have to do nothing, to settle into this winter stillness and be.
Today, I will stare out the window and watch the fractals of the tree branches shift in the breeze . . . I will think of palm trees and be glad of my own cherries and oaks, the sycamore who holds her last lofty arm white against the mountain behind her. I will breath deep as I step outside and remember college days and try to feel that cold reach the very bottom of my lungs.
Today, when the air is cold enough to drive me to the fire, I will treasure what it is to have seasons – to have one side cold and one hot . . . because I know that to be here, now, is a gift, a treasure, the mutability of time and rotation and sun a blessing. To celebrate the frozen earth before we crack open the soil and make it grow again . . . with warmth and water and all the hours of daylight we can muster.