Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chilly Reverie

It was 23 degrees when we went out to the barn to do the chores this morning. Brrrrrr! The girls and I try not to rush through our tasks on days like today. But although we still take the time to chat with the chickens as we scatter their scratch, and we make sure to rub the goats' backs while we muck their stall, we often end up scampering through most of the less pleasurable jobs and high-tailing it back to the warmth of our house as quickly as possible. Some days I find myself thinking as I briskly cart the poop bucket to the compost heap, fingers numb and eyes watering, "I can't wait until summer."

But, of course, I can. And will. And truly, I wouldn't choose to rush summer even if I could. For if I did, I might miss that cozy feeling of coming inside from the cold and smelling the coffee brewing. I might miss seeing the pasture glisten sleepily under the delicate crystals of a hard frost. I might miss the rough, crunchy sensation of my boots colliding with frozen ground. I might miss the smoky smell that lingers on my husband's jacket after he's been sitting around the fire pit on a weekend afternoon. I might miss my girls' excited exclamations over the few-and-far-between snowflakes that fall from these Piedmont skies. I might miss the feeling of hope and optimism brought by the gradual lengthening of the days and the slow and sporadic warming of the earth as spring approaches. I might miss those first forsythia buds, those first daffodil blooms, those first asparagus spears peeping out to brave the still-frigid air of early spring. And I might just find myself unable to appreciate quite so thoroughly that summer heat I've been craving.

G-P and I have been talking a lot lately about trying to learn to live more fully in the present moment, to be engaged in and appreciative of what is right here, right now, rather than being caught up so constantly in ruminating over the past; anticipating and planning out the future; and attending to the endless streams of information, materials and activities that clutter modern life. 

As Thoreau tells us in Walden, this is precisely why he "went into the woods."

I wished to live deliberately . . . and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. 
I do not wish to make it to summer and realize that I never truly lived the winter. So tomorrow morning, I will cajole my shivery body into moving a bit more slowly through the chores. I will take time to treasure the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that come with them. And I will remember to give thanks for both the beauties and the discomforts of winter.

1 comment:

Jules Smith said...

Couldn't agree more!