Every year, during the winter, my body recovers from the past summer season and my mind prepares for the looming season ahead. The memories of how hard spring actually is starts to fog, and fade into the distant past. Then, almost as out of nowhere, the ground stops freezing at night and things turn green. Like really green. A vibrant color my mind has almost completely forgotten over the gray winter months. The birds begin to chirp and frog songs fill the ponds. All the exciting, new farm projects leap off the drawing table and burst to life. Faster than we can comprehend. I have to shake my stiff body and remember how to engage my legs and hold my core strong as I return to steward the land.
We have hoops to bend, greenhouses to build, pigs to feed, seeds to plant, land to prep, tractors to fix, systems to refine. The list goes on and on and always will from here on out. I learned quickly last season that I can let the list feel overwhelming, a never-ending abundance of tasks that could easily stress me out if I overthink it too much. Or, I can let the list flow out of me, completing tasks as the weather allows and when my body has the space. There will always be a list. But growing food isn’t about that list. It isn’t about checking off tasks in little boxes, confining me to productivity and success.
Spring is a reminder to me that the natural rhythms of the earth are more important to me than my list. My body is made to work in relationship to the intensity of the sun and the length of the day. On cloudy days, I work less. On sunny days, I work more. Just like the plants. There is no reason for me to push my body against the weather patterns. I have to be ready to shift my work on a moment’s notice.
The other day, I was helping a friend tighten the strings on their greenhouse. All was well, sun was shining. A small group of storm clouds loomed to the north, too far away to interrupt our work. As were tying off our knots, the wind picked up and the storm clouds swung south, quickly clobbering us with hard raindrops and huge gusts of wind. We scrambled to tie off the strings and ran to our cars. Drenched, we listened to the rain pound the metal roofs. We emerged from our vehicles, still dripping wet, to clear blue skies and a bright rainbow that stretched from one side of the farm to the other; trailing behind the storm moving east.
Spring. The unpredictable season that truly humbles the soul. As I write this, outside falls a fine mist. Rain soaked everything on the land this morning. I was given an unplanned rest day by the spring weather patterns. My body can rest and my mind can catch up. Every day is different when you raise food. I am learning how to be resilient and how to be mindful. But also how to be strong and how to move quickly. I am grateful to work in a place where I am not bound by the expectations of society, but instead moved by the rhythms of the earth. Thank you spring for reminding me how to wake up and move with the day.