Vibrant Summer

 

Summer’s vibrancy is here, infusing into me, or maybe it is me infusing into the landscape of greens and blues.

Most of my writing these days is over in the farm blog, and instagram vignettes.  You’re invited to join me in both of those places for the summer, as I share in words and photos the curiosities and creativity that is flowing through me.

Be well, dive deep, get dirty.

Happy summer~

 

No Mud, No Lotus

No Mud,No Lotus

Years ago, sitting cross-legged in a yoga class, my teacher spoke about the muck on the bottom of the pond.  How the muck is home to the roots.  How it gives birth to the lotus.  I sat there, grounding my sacrum to the floor, strengthening my spine, feeling the opening at the crown of my head, and breathed in the lesson.  In that moment, the relationship between the mud and the lotus was so clear.  You’d think as a farmer I’d never forget it.

But I do forget it.  Despite the compost we shovel on our field each year, despite the fact that my livelihood depends on manure, I forget the balance.  I have to re-learn it each spring.

The month of March churned up the internal muck, and I caught myself there, in the opaque sludge of worry, in the heavy suction of resistance.  It took weeks to remember that pushing down to find grounding is futile in the muck.  It took weeks to remember how to trust in letting go.  How to trust in the mud.

Eventually, movement returned.  I don’t know if it was external validation or the wind bringing in warm air and clear skies, or the exhaustion of trying so hard that finally brought me to letting go, but I’m shifting into spring and feel the shoots starting to rise from the murky base.

Somewhere in all of it, I remembered sitting in that yoga class, remembered the space that filled my body as I breathed from the flower down to the roots, remembered that this cycle has spun through me before.  And I’ve woken up into trust, into space, into abundance.

I’ve woken up.

No mud, no lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh said, and I remember that the pond, too, sleeps and must wake each spring.  That the lotus, too, must bloom anew each year.

 

 

Good Medicine

IMG_2059

March came in with a bluster of sustained wind and strong gusts, dropping the temperature 40º in the course of one night.  The house trembled against the gusts, and I laid in bed, my stomach hollowing with each shudder of the posts and beams.  All night I breathed and drew my breath to the earth, to the roots of trees.

On the first of March I woke tired but thankful for the stillness after the storm.  Thankful for the space that comes after struggle.

Subsequent nights have been calmer, the mornings warmer.  On Friday I woke at 5:30 and watched the dark of night soften into a blue twilight, the mountains shifting in shades of blue from persian to azure to lapis and finally to a dusty french blue before reaching the lightness of day.  It was only 20º at 6:00, but when I opened the door to let the cat out, the air whispered of spring and I lingered in the doorway listening to the clear notes of a chickadee calling fee-bee.  

Those simple notes.  Can I describe to you how they woke me up?  Can I tell you how the day before I felt struggle, for no reason except that that I did?  And how this one moment at the door, when the air felt just a half ounce heavier and smelled just a few degrees warmer, when the chickadee whistled two clean notes, how in this one moment my chest flooded with space.

Struggle and space.  Breath in and out.  The cycle can happen so fast.

Sometimes I want so much to do something good that I forget the goodness of caring for myself, of tending to my heart.  Sometimes I want so much to do something good that I feel only the struggle of trying.

Then I remember the medicine that is always at hand:

Waking early is good medicine.

Reading poetry is good medicine.

Letting myself be inspired by others’ creativity is good medicine.

Being in awe is good medicine.

I come back to breath.  I come back to grounding, to the lessons offered up by trees, to the strength of roots.

I come back to the stillness after the storm, to the chickadee and the texture of early spring air.

I come back to the tending of my heart, and I know how fiercely beautiful this world is.

And I know how wonderfully beautiful it is to see it.

 

 

A Clearing in the Wild

RWS_0036There are times when the roads of my inner landscape are covered with rocks, and my ankles feel weak, and I’m not sure which way to go, until a note of beauty strikes my ears and I gulp in the sounds directing me aright.  There are times when life is so full that the smallest ounce of beauty brings me to tears.

Beauty doesn’t hide in the realm of joy.  That’s it’s power–it’s ability to catch us as we stumble, it’s ability to wake us from blindness, to hold us in sadness, to guide us through pain.

There is so much beauty in this world.  Why can’t we bathe in it, share it, spread it?

That’s what I’m after now, to share beauty with you all.  So I share with you this song, A Clearing in the Wildby Red Tail Ring, which struck a chord in my heart and re-awakened a longing that pulls me to the wilderness:

“let yourself go
sigh like the rapids
breathe down your body
let the dam overflow
and release the day like a thunder of sparrows
and lie in the stillness when everything’s gone.”

RWS_0055

It’s high summer, when computer time dwindles and the fields keep me outside.  I turn my posts now to frames of beauty, to moments of stillness and moments of wonder and moments that rush through my heart, beating me alive.

Unfurling into May

May green

And suddenly it’s green.  It happens all at once, and every year I forget the immediacy of unfurling leaves and popping green until that moment when I look up and see the sunlight catch the color anew.

The farm is unfurling into May, too.  10,000 onions, 700 feet of salad greens, 600 feet of spinach, 400 feet of tomato plants and snap peas, plus kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, beets.  We are in with our whole hearts and bodies now.

This little boy of mine is in it, too, learning to slack line with his Papa, learning to walk in the pathways instead of on the garden beds, and learning to be gentle with transplants.  When he tried grabbing the tomatoes, I said, “Be gentle with the plants.  Give them love,” to which he responded by bending down, softly brushing the leaves and saying “looaahhh”

Now even the grass gets loves from Waylon.

pointing out birds

The birds, too, command his attention.  Crows, ravens, carrier hawks, red-winged blackbirds, robins, even a heron landed in a tree to scout our pond the other day, and Waylon announced it all, saying “toot toot toot” to show us the birds.

And now he is pointing out the window, saying “side, side” and so it’s time to close the computer screen and go out with him into the day.

The Wild Ones Emerging

Coltsfoot was the first to emerge, pushing its dandelion-like yellow blooms up along roadsides and old gravely logging roads.

Then came the peepers in an evening chorus around the pond, and the bubbles of frog eggs floating in the water.

frog eggs in the pond

Just a few days ago, a friend pointed out a splash of white flowers beneath maple trees on the road, bloodroot blooming out of leaf litter in the filtered sun.

And yesterday I noticed a carpet of trout lilies blooming behind the yurt, the yellow petals flexing open, faces slanted down to the earth.

trout lily

The perennial gardens are waking up, too: peppermint and spearmint, peonies, iris, dicentra, yarrow, echinacea, rudbeckia–all coming back, finally, and bringing the last sleeping parts of me back with them, too.

Spring Peepers Rejoice!

{In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be posting a poem each weekday through the rest of April, and I invite you to join me!  Leave a link to your poem of the day in the comments section below.}

Last night spring peepers

sang, the pluck-pluck of their notes

rising into night

finally bridging

late winter to spring, each note

rejoicing in mud

frog in rice paddy, summer 2012
frog in rice paddy, summer 2012

Where I’ve Been

pepper seedlingsEvery year the transition to the farming season slows down my blogging.  Outside, the earth is trying to thaw even as snow sloshes down every few days.  Each time I walk to the greenhouse I hear water running in streams beneath the snow, and I linger to hear the flow gurgling under my feet, promising thaw despite the low-pressure cold fronts that persist.

Sun is coming our way, though, and inside the greenhouse we are seeding, watering, up-potting.  Waylon has his own spot in the greenhouse, cuddled with the dogs on the camping pad that Edge has been sleeping on these past few weeks so he can stoke the wood stove fire through the night.  Of course, Waylon toddles all around the gravel floor, making games of putting rocks into yogurt cups and pouring water from one bucket to another as we seed.

The greenhouse is a place of growth for all of us, seeds, toddler, mama and papa: family.

Spring’s Lesson

spring morningI push open the door to let a dog outside, and feel the cool humidity of a spring morning.  The sunny days of the previous week hinted that we were really heading out of winter, but it’s not until this moment when I inhale the smell of condensed snow, wet bark, and the remnants of yesterday’s rain that I realize the scent of spring has infused itself into the air.

Yesterday, a flock of birds lifted from a tree and burst through the air, dipping and rising and propelling themselves in an arc through the sky.  I stood still for a moment watching them before I got into my car to drive to work.  Only one more week before I leave my seasonal job and stay on the farm instead, though watching the birds I feel a tug of freedom and wildness and want nothing more than to follow them over the hillside.

This morning, before I got out of bed, still sleepy as Waylon crawled back and forth over my body, the cooing of a mourning dove drifted through the yurt walls and gently welcomed me to the day.  Now a dog barks and a crow caws and Waylon and Edge bumble out of the door to stoke the greenhouse fire.

All morning, I’ve stolen into seconds of silence: sipping tea in the rocking chair, standing at the open door and staring at the fog-covered mountains, sneaking up to the lofted bed while Waylon and Edge do dishes.  I don’t want to leave this foggy morning, though the twilight’s mist has already risen from the fields.  Isn’t that spring’s lesson though–that waking up ins’t always a matter of our mind’s readiness, that the day breaks open whenever it does, and we can break open, too.

spring morning 2

Mud Season Transition

“Part of being our best selves is having the guts to not avert our eyes, to look closely at what scares us, what disappoints us, what threatens us. By looking closely we have a chance to make change happen.” 

~Seth Godin

Baby Maple

It’s a messy transition between winter and spring.  The white canvas of snow that welcomed reflection melts into mud, ruts up the road, and floods the river.

When we are finally ready for long days and warm air and the time to put our dreams into motion, we get pulled into potholes and have to inch along when we are ready for speed.

It’s the moment just before the leap, the transition between planning and acting, that we must look at the things we hold and decide what to let go of, decide what will serve us and what needs to melt away with the last of winter’s snow.

It’s the transition that asks us to slow down and look into the mud.  It’s not always easy, but if we don’t slow down, the ruts and potholes will break us before we get anywhere.  Now is the time to look closely, to sink in, to plant a seed in the thawing earth.

Sometimes–often times–slowing down and letting go are the first steps in creating change.