Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Feeling It: Getting Back in Touch with the Weather
And it has been a gift: to know that it is cold, not because I saw the forecast or because I got a little chilled dashing in and out of the car, but because my fingers are too stiff to hold the muck bucket without dropping it on the way back to the house. To feel the grace in the touch of the sun gently warming the icy air. To absorb the wetness of the dew and the rain, and then to carry it around in the mud on my boots. To see the miniscule but dramatic changes in the plant life around me as the each of the seasons emerges, matures, and fades into another. Being more in touch with the weather and the natural world, I have found, makes me feel more alive. Perhaps that's partly because it makes me feel more connected to other living things. And a little less hooked up to the gadgets and the bells and whistles that make up so much of daily life in the modern world.
There are only two other periods in my life when I have been intimately familiar with the weather. The first was during early childhood. My sisters (and later my brother) and I spent a great deal of our first years in this world out in the world--hiking in the woods that surrounded our home, swinging from vines, wading in streams, playing various kinds of "ball," pretending to be cowboys and Indians and cops and robbers, and even doing a bit of gardening with my dad. Our own opinion about the weather seems to have been been very like Christopher Robin's: we didn't much mind what the weather did as long as we got to be out in it. In fact, I don't remember ever minding the cold, the rain, or the heat. But I do remember minding getting called inside for dinner (to be truthful, that probably only lasted until I caught the scent of my mother's fried chicken or blackberry cobbler waiting there for us). Looking back, I now realize that most of my fondest childhood memories are set outside.
Farming has given me the chance (the push) to leave my boxes behind a little more often and for a little bit longer than I have most days of my life. And what an invigorating and liberating--if sometimes uncomfortable and messy--gift it has been.
"Noise," by Pooh (or rather, by A.A. Milne)
Oh, the butterflies are flying,
And the primroses are trying
To be seen.
And the turtle-doves are cooing,
And the woods are up and doing,
For the violets are blue-ing
In the green.
Oh, the honey-bees are gumming
On their little wings, and humming
That the summer, which is coming,
Will be fun.
And the cows are almost cooing,
And the turtle-doves are mooing,
Which is why a Pooh is poohing
In the sun.
For the spring is really springing;
You can see a skylark singing,
And the blue-bells, which are ringing,
Can be heard.
And the cuckoo isn't cooing,
But he's cucking and he's ooing,
And a Pooh is simply poohing
Like a bird.