Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hope and Faith

Faith is what you rely on when hope seems pointless.

Faith that you will have hope again, if you just hang in there.

Faith that "this too shall pass."

I say I am a "winter person". It's true. I much prefer the worst that winter can dish out to the worst of a Kansas summer. The challenge of meeting, and surviving, a bone-chilling bitter wind (gusting almost to 40 miles per hour these past couple days, according to the National Weather Service)...keeping my footing on the uninvited skating rink between the back door and the barn...the triumph of finding that I'm so good at bundling up that I'm too hot even though the temperature is in the teens...these things invigorate me in a way that 100 degree, 99 percent humidity doesn't. I have a dear friend who sees the thermometer approaching triple digits and comes to the conclusion, "great weather to go on a 50 mile bike ride." Not me. I estivate (the summer version of hibernation).

But this winter has truly been "a winter such as we have never seen", at least not for many years, at least not in Kansas. And I'm just plain sick and tired of it.

A couple weeks ago, during a very rare warm day, I noticed that the buds on the forsythia bush outside the front door were looking slightly swollen. I clipped off a branch and put it in a vase on the kitchen window sill, and sure enough it has opened into full bloom...the sort of bloom that is so often terminated prematurely outdoors by a hard freeze. I cling to these cheerful flowers on the windowsill over the sink as a tangible promise that spring is on its way.

I want to move the fences now that the stumps for the circle drive have been ground out. I want to finish cleaning up and reorganizing the outdoor storage areas. I want to begin gardening, moving mulch, clearing dead weeds. I want to put seeds in the ground, I want to see the honeybees venture out in search of the first blossoms. There is so much to be done! And each frozen day is one day less to do it in. In a few days it will be March. Normally by now I've been thinking "the ground is "ready to be worked in early spring", but is it TOO early?" This year, the ground is still implacably frozen. The snow in the shadows of things has not fully melted all winter. How will there ever be time for everything once it does thaw?

In the tunnel vision of waiting for spring, and worrying, it's hard to keep the larger perspective. This time of waiting is setting aside time for me to plan and coordinate. The household expanded from just me in January, to include Ashlee in February, and is now exploding like a spring bud to include Elesha, her two small children, and temporarily her sister. I've had serious inquiries from many potential volunteers eager to learn about farming. So there will be many hands to do the work of the farm this season, whenever that season eventually arrives.
So for now I just need to live in the realm of faith and hope.

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