Last night, at 10pm darkness, a friend and I ended a long conversation by listening to the sounds of pregnant sheep grunting and groaning as their full bodies settled into rest and digestion. A calf noisily slurped a bottle of milk held by my friend’s hands. The peepers were calling, still somewhat tentatively, from a nearby pond. No matter how tired I am, from farm work or deep conversation, these sounds enliven me.
At 2am I was woken by the sound of the wind, which was blowing in inconsistently timed gusts that left me wide awake, waiting for the next sound of a banging door, or slap against greenhouse plastic. I convinced myself to go back outside to make sure the seedling greenhouse was indeed secure, calming my fears of our propane warmed air floating off to the greater atmosphere directly from our 300,000 BTU burner. Our own tiny contribution to global warming, this beast feels to me like it sends out hard earned dollar bills to the wind, but I also recognize it as the warm mother body in the night for our precious seedlings.
After my 2am spell of being awake, I dream of cross country skiing, and without intention find myself entering a 60k race totally ill-equipped. I get lost, make friends, and eat a lot of cookies. I make it through the event, but barely. In the end I can feel the satisfaction of my endurance as well as the excitement and longing of new friendship.
Is this dream a metaphor for my life? The farm and personal life balance played out metaphorically through a sport I know well? The must go forward intensity with a map (in the dream race, the map was a small booklet with ten sections, not unlike my pocket to-do notebook) but little direction written on the ground. Spring time at the farm follows a similar race plan. It is as though I’ve just jumped into a season with unmarked, unpredictable, paths and a must-keep-moving-forward intensity. Like the dream, the intensity is buoyed by people who can help show me the way and fuel my energy needs.
Groggy, having hit snooze for 45 minutes, at 5:30 I’m back on my feet leaning against the window listening to the morning propeller sounds of a woodcock in the backyard. A gift! Nature reins in her beauty and transformation of growth into sound. The spring time wake up in the field and the farmer are equally insistent, we both are part of nature, but that which is outside of myself is what brings the grounding of the new day, or another step forward, on the path that will determine our next actions. The night wind that kept me awake also helped to dry out our fields. I make lists, my own maps, compulsively even though it is nature that creates the course.