A Winter’s Production
Posted: January 26th, 2021- Michele, the Farm Artist
Every year in late October, after the summer’s hard-worked garden spaces and hemp terraces surrender to the residue of the harvest, the same three Canada geese arrive to overwinter on our pond. Well, they look like the same three, but only the geese would know that for sure. Sometimes they arrive earlier than expected only to go missing for a few weeks, then return. Other years they arrive later than expected. Either way we are left to wonder who had them for dinner or if they found a better deal at a neighboring farm. Their arrival is the opening act of the winter season, as the spent soldiers of the soil ( human and otherwise ) are ready to move into winter’s work of renewal.
Come December the second act arrives in the form of migrating birds. Most often it happens when I’m having morning coffee seated by the picture window in the south facing sunroom. Huge flocks announce themselves in the form of a low humming noise that quickly becomes more intense and within seconds the initial wave of birds appear and settle in the bare branches of poplars and oaks that edge one of our fields.
For a moment the volume is turned down and then it ratchets back up as a second group joins the first. The cycle repeats itself several times until finally what appears to be the last group flies overhead and instead of settling in the trees, keeps on going. This seems to signal the others to leave their high branch positions and they peel off in an orderly fashion as one tree at a time loses its fleeting winter embellishments. This yearly ritual signals that all is as it should be in this time of rest for body, soul and soil.
Every good production needs a third act and in my winter play that arrives in the form of snow. Okay, we haven’t actually had any yet. I’m quite upset with Mother Nature or perhaps it's the weathermen who should be the target of my displeasure. Twice now snow has been in the forecast only to be cruelly upstaged by dreary gray skies and cold rain. This wistful longing for the white stuff is really about transformation. The weary remnants of last season's soldiers, seen or unseen, perceive the new fallen snow, when it arrives, as a gift of shelter. A protective layer that offers time to settle into winter’s work. The work of regeneration that inevitably gives way to the energies of spring.