Thursday, May 15, 2014

Turning Over, Overturned

It's mid-May, and I am learning that where I live, life is simultaneously waking up and bursting out with newness. Leafing out, spring bulbs, the small kernels of flower bud on lilacs, dandelions and grasses greening up a landscape that has been grey since late October. Wow. Late October.

As I wander around downtown Montpelier, or stop in at the Adamant Coop, I express an ecstasy I think I have earned. And my joy is often met in equal measure by my neighbors. Temperatures are topping out in the 70s. The once frozen streams are running high.  We've made it through, I've made it through a long winter that held on like oh god I don't even know-- like a mama bear holding her cub, encircling us in cold and quiet for many months. I've written elsewhere about this, and am now so glad that I can look back on it. It is maybe 5 months away, winter. That feels like an eternity.

I cleaned out the hearth today. I walked into the cluttered living room, and couldn't take the flakes of moss and bark anymore. I swept, vacuumed, stowed the wood stove tools. I put the vase of daffodils my family picked me for Mother's Day on the stove. It felt good, and I like that room a lot more now.

And today I threw open all the windows, put the screens on the doors, and wandered around outside with friends, imagining what this farm and life will look like. It's not like we haven't been working for it, but it's easy to forget, when surrounded by piles of sod as big as the piles of snow outside your front door 2 months ago, what all the work is for.

We've been beginning to change the landscape around us. I've been weeding in the raspberries. I've been digging out sod in preparation for the high tunnel kit we'll get next week. I've been planting seeds and repotting small plants, their numbers clearly marked, each imagined bed space counted, planned.

And tonight, the miracle of the plow came to visit. I have accepted that this season will be a slow one, and decided to go the complete route of flipping sod and watching it decompose before doing much else. Our neighbor angel came along in his orange tractor, with a good old plow to slice into and turn over sod that has been growing for maybe 100 years in that spot. He backed into the bed space-- only 3000 square feet this year-- and made his way, painting brown into this rapidly greening earth.

I felt, as he did this work, as I ran after to help flip pieces that got stuck, tromping on tubes of earth and feeling the soil settle in my toes, like the world was flipped, the script of my inadequacy, my doubt, overturned in the face of the possibility of this good soil. There is so much left to do-- chicken housing, construction, soil amendments, barn clean out that never ends, bed making, and on and on-- and getting there will seem almost impossible until it's over. But tonight, grunting as I pulled on sod in the gathering night, I felt powerful, and capable, and awake. And I knew, for a few moments, the joy of being close in to things, touching life with bare hands and strong arms.

These are the gifts I seek, and the gifts I want to share, when the time is right. Welcome the gift of this bodied life, and the work of hands and hearts. Happy spring.