Sunshine is a gift.
Even with a sore back, I want to be outside today, moving around, face illuminated by the light, blinded by sparkle and white, taking compost to the chickens, pulling a sled, gathering frozen kale from a garden covered in snow.
Wallace isn’t so sure.
He drags behind, thick in his suit, collapsing onto the ground, pulling off his mittens.
I make my way down to the chicken coop.
Theo waits, curious about compost but leery of the electric fence, making dog-breath steam in the bright, icy air.
At bedtime, snuggled under the covers, Wallace wonders about fireflies.
“Do you remember how they light up, blinking, all over our front field?” I ask him.
“In the summer?
When it is warm and humid in the tall grass?”
But it’s hard to remember
watching him work with a spoon
in the emerging mud
layers of ice
ice once so hard,
impossible to break through.
Remember the morning we couldn’t leave,
couldn’t get into our car
covered in ice so thick, so cold
the doors frozen shut?
Remember the night we couldn’t speak
because there was so much frozen
When we cut them
down in the swamp
the fuzz was nearly invisible,
still tucked inside.
Two days in the house,
and here they are.
Warmth does that.
Oh, this morning. Breathtaking over the lake. The light. The way the clouds move. Misty blowing snow.
And look at her, taking him out early to let out the chickens, while I am still upstairs, just getting out of bed.
Every day, he says,
“I want to make something, Mama.”
as he drags a chair across from the table to the butcher block
stands up tall
next to me,
I’ve been making something
with a little person (or two, or three)
next to me,
for more than 13 years.
it wears me out.
I dream about being alone
But other days I stand in awe
of how this simple act
repeated over and over again,
alchemy in the kitchen,
in the garden,
has shaped their hands,
made my life,
nourished our family.
The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
He thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?
The Man Born to Farming by Wendell Berry
Here we are, in our winter greenhouse, on January first. Unveiling the hardy greens that have survived the cold nights. This is the perfect place to begin our year together. Side-by-side. Grounded in home.
“I think it makes a huge difference, when you wake in the morning and come out of your house, whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you, but in a totally different form, and if you go towards it with an open heart and a real, watchful reverence, that you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you.” — John O’Donohue