Rising Toward Spring

Today’s sky is blue and cold as a block of ice, but bright and sunny—which is welcome this time of year. The birds seem to welcome it, too, all the finches and nuthatches and chickadees flitting back and forth in the sunshine from the feeder to the low branches of the nearby trees.

The light is gaining now for certain. From the solstice’s darkness, we have gained over an hour of daylight, adding minutes each day and accelerating all the while. Winter is far from over, to be sure, but the world is rising toward spring, even beneath the snow. Each day the farm’s slack coils tighten, getting ready to spring come May.

As we should expect. Today we stand at the late-winter cross-quarter day, the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox and an inflection point in the farming year.

Now is when I shake off my bear-like sleepiness and begin to feel the year’s ascent. When I take the dreams of midwinter and shape them into actual plans and drawings, numbers and maps, spreadsheets and lists. I make ready to welcome the new season, as one welcomes an old friend.

I cherish this deep rhythm of the farming year, how the season begins in dormancy, then kindles, grows, and yields abundance, then becomes exhausted, dies down, and returns to dormancy. I love how the nature and intensity of work changes along with those movements, and how it all is tuned to the music of the earth and synchronized to the cycle of the sun. It is all a great gift, which we begin to receive this day.