We came home from my birthday breakfast to find one of our mobile hoop houses flipped over the greenhouse and laying on its side in the driveway.
March, in like a lion, you know.
A strong steady wind interrupted by even stronger gusts—NOAA reported gusts up to 50 mph that day—blew our hoop house like a sailboat. We went at the plastic with knives, stripping the frame. It looked like a naked, twisted spine by the time we were done, and we left it at that and took a lunch break.
Edge spent the rest of the afternoon dismantling each bow from the ridgepole and runners. He let me take the afternoon off, a birthday gift you could say.
Despite the damage, we laughed. My birthday has become a sort of joke at this point, when four years ago a fire destroyed our neighbor’s barn and all our farming tools and supplies with it. The intervening years didn’t hold such obvious turmoil, but each birthday felt like a struggle in different ways. This year was going to be different, though. This year I turned 30.
And you know what? It was different.
Yes, the hoop house blew away. Yes, it left rips in the greenhouse plastic. Yes, it shifted our day off into a day on. But it didn’t actually destroy anything. Edge taped the greenhouse. The bows of the hoop house are all salvageable. And the fact that it didn’t land directly on top of our delivery van, or roll into our friend’s tiny house, or completely tear apart the greenhouse—all of these things made us see the luck in it instead of the pain.
I used to celebrate my birthday as a day of ease. But giving birth to my son almost four years ago taught me that struggle is part of it, too. That with every turn, we have to let go before stepping into a new open space.
The cycle of struggle and ease plays out everyday. It’s the hoop house flying into the driveway, the sense of shock, and the work that gives way to laughter. It’s the seed pushing up through the soil, and the shoot greening in the sun.
It’s birth and breath and pain and peace.
“Is not impermanence the very fragrance of our days?”
and it is. Of course it is. As a farmer I know this in my bones. As a mother I know it in my heart. So much growing, so much to harvest, so many moments that pass into another as the seasons turn. The wind will pass, the hoop house will go back up, we’ll celebrate my birthday with cupcakes.
And then the cupcakes will be gone, too, and we’ll keep on going, turning into spring like compost turns into soil: filled with energy, ready to grow.