The Wintering of the Soul

April 1, 2022

We are deep into Winter here on the farm. It is a season where our work shifts. It seems that all of creation is half asleep around here- waiting and resting for Spring.

The birds are quiet, the air is sharp and cold and there is a calm stillness about the land. Rest is hard for me. I find lots of purpose and identity in the work of my hands. Creating and producing brings me joy and energy. But to everything there is a season…. And this is a season of rest. I sit and dream of my garden and Spring time: what I will plant, what seeds I will buy. This next season of Spring feels at this point like another blank canvas.

We have had some unusual warm Winter days and I have been tempted to get my seeds in the ground but I know its too early and they would not survive. So I am forced back into rest and waiting.

I can often find myself discontent in a season of rest, pining away at what’s to come, instead of being content with the season I’m in. Recently, I have been learning to slow down, talk less (well, kind of) and breath deep into rest. A rest that sits deep in your soul. I am close but still resisting in many ways. I think we can look at rest as simply not doing anything but that is never the case on a farm.

Even in winter there is much to do, just different, slower work. Currently, my focus of work is on the cow herd, chickens, goats and our beloved milk cow Dolly. Keeping them stocked with hay, securing shelter, breaking ice in water troughs, are just a few of my daily chores. But since this season is slower, I have been taking longer moments with the animals. Brushing Dolly after milking and giving her a nice “brisket rub” which is her favorite.

These practices slow me down, remind me of my place in God’s creation. That I am here to help and steward not plow forward or to force premature growth. If we want to grow good things, we must first grow good things in ourselves like patience, love, perseverance and kindness. There is a discipline of rest in being present with ourselves and others. Rest is more than not doing its the art of learning to simply “be”.

So this winter, as I dream through those seed catalogs of the farmer I will be in the Spring, I wait and embrace the farmer that endures cold, is not afraid of stillness, tries not to hurry and knows this season will pass soon enough.