Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Breathing

I don't know about you, but I think for many rural individuals the seasons set the pace of our lives. 

In spring the urgent rush to prepare and plant the fields seems not unlike a long distance race where results are never immediate but the outcome is imminent and the only way to cross that finish line is to invest copious amounts of time moving steadily forward one foot in front of the other and never ever giving up. The list of tasks seem endless and urgent and yet there's a celebratory note in spring because we've just survived the winter, that enthusiasm propels us forward, has us take on things we'd otherwise never make time to do, we are energized and refreshed by the smell of earth as it thaws, the gentle breezes, the warm rain and the reappearance of life, first little bubbles appearing in the earth as it drinks up the melting snow, then tiny blades of strong lime sprouts push through last year's dead, dried grass.  Finally the song birds return home for the season and the land erupts and the season that seemed like it would never quite come is upon us and explodes chaotically all around.  Plants grow so quickly the daily results are measurable and never, ever cease to amaze. 

Then quickly and quietly summer arrives.  She comes in a blast.  One day you are working in the garden, a gentle breeze on your back and the next you are stifled with a wall of heat so thick that it takes your breath and streams of sweat run down your back.  Flowers bud and explode.  One day a garden plant bears a tiny blossom and the next long, crunchy beans, squash or peas appear.  The world becomes a buffet but the work is harder and hot. Still we adapt, the icy waters of spring quickly warm and become our playground, we alternate between basking in summer's hot rays and thick dappled shade to plunging into it's warm refreshing pools.  Summer stifles with her intensity but all too swiftly just when we wonder if we'll ever need the blankets on our beds again or if a breeze will ever ruffle the curtain, if those peepers in the pond will ever stop their incessant night time chatter she gracefully bows out and gives center stage to Fall. 

Autumn comes with a change of clothes from green to yellow.   We welcome his cooler days and are reinvigorated once again to tackle jobs that Summer's heat just couldn't inspire.  We cannot help but pause and marvel at all his splendour, he simply amazes with his riotous brightness from leaves to crops, to the squawking of flocks as they fly over beginning their journey to warmer places but he's a fast one that a shaking of his robes the brightly coloured leaves swirl and madly whirl around encircling us with a frosty promise that work will soon slow down.  First, we must hurry, we have things to tidy, harvests to collect, jobs to finish because Winter is waiting.

Sometimes Winter sits impatient on the doorstep and she can be harsh and merciless and we don't want to be caught unprepared.  She blows into every corner sending chill everywhere.  The trees become lifeless statues frozen in her stillness, buried deep inside themselves as they set up a long vigil against her icy madness, swirling blizzards and deep cold.  She is also beautiful this winter, with her long, thick robes  that glimmer on moonlit nights and blind on sunshine days, but for me winter is a time to breathe, regroup and reorganize as the world around lays blanketed thick and white.  A time to rest and plan for the cacophony of spring that is sure to follow.  A time to not wish away but to enjoy and breathe because all too soon the cycle will start again.

Already the days are longer and I know my rest is coming to an end.  I am trying to collect myself, my thoughts, my ideas and organize them in a way that they won't spiral madly out of control at the first sigh of spring.  For now I plan and slowly I will begin again just as the seasons unfold, I guess time will tell exactly what that looks like and what the world has in store for me but for now I chose to simply be and appreciate all this world has to offer us if we only just open our eyes and see! 

Changing Seasons

1 comment:

Julie Wallbridge (feminist farmer's wife) said...

A beautiful piece of writing. I really enjoyed reading it. And the painting - well - that's just the cherry on top! Love the work.