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Winter

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          “The mountains’ bones poke through, all shoulder and knob and shin.  All that summer conceals, winter reveals… To sleep, spiders and fish; the wind won’t stop, but the house will hold.”
-Annie Dillard

It’s snowing for the third time this week.  Ten days ago it was 75 degrees; we were sweating like mad, digging beds and catching earthy whiffs of spring.  Then winter said, “Shhhhhh.”

Winter is a mother.  She is strict, quiet, and measured.  But she is also tender toward those she loves.  I’ve fought her most of my life, but she remained.  While I’ve fussed, she has held me against her brittle, bare bones, saying, “Shh, shh, shh, child.  Trust me.  You need this sleep.”

Seasons have their reasons.  Winter asks rest of us.  That we go inside (our houses and our selves), take stock, pause and sit a while.  There is a space for friendship that yawns wide in winter months—because when else would you share a quilt across laps.  When else would you linger quite so long over a cup of tea.

Here at the farm the land feels pregnant and about to pop—buds and shoots and waking perennials.  “Shhhhh,” says Mama, and blows in a snow to settle the children.  The birds put their songbooks back in their pockets.  The forest critters push the snooze button.  “Not yet,” she says, and what choice have we but to listen?

We started some seeds.  We dug some beds.  We saw the crocuses pop up and said, “Well, I guess that’s it!”  We always speak too soon.  The Ozarks love to remind us of that.  Someone once asked me what the state flower of Arkansas was.  I said the apple blossom.  She said, “Nope. It’s the frozen daffodil.”

Leafing, fruiting, and producing all year would be a weary thing.  This respite is a kindness.  As the snow falls silently on you tonight, let it stay you.  Let your anchor down into the deep quiet.  Don’t fear what winter will ‘bare’ in you, the way she bares the trees and the ground.  Just trust her process.  Spring comes soon enough.

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