Winter’s Gift

Out third week in snow, it’s a once in a lifetime experience, or so the old timers say. I’m not sure this is the last time I’ve seen snow, 18″ to be exact, fall within a week and not melt away. It’s a great drink of water for thirsty soil, trees, and aquifers. We do suffer drought, even in Western Washington. This snow will help, bring resilience to a landscape once temperate and damp.

The animals are struck by the change, and a little resistant to striking out in fields of crusted white impediments that continue to strike at their knees. Can’t say that I blame them, snow overflowing my boot and a wet sock make transporting ones self around the landscape uncomfortable. Better to den up in a warm space with food and water under cover. I can take a page from the livestock. The goats were happy to brows on living material, though briefly. Inside alfalfa flake magic speaks loudest, and there’s not much else to nibble with a thick frosty icing smeared over pastures, even covering blackberry thickets.

The trees were spared, melting fast enough to save most branches, no wind came to our ridge-line. There is still time in the forecast for ice, but most wind occurs in fall around here. At the moment, as I type this documentation, we are socked in by fog. A snowy blanket, which held us in another time; quietly spread across the landscape, melting away. In a few more days of rain and warm temperatures, the hostage green earth will unfurl, continuing her budding out to signal Spring.

Easily read pathways will fade, disconnecting from our attention. Tracks of readable activity vanish into earthly divots upon duff and turf. One does not have to suffer illiteracy when the substrate language changes. But if you are remedial in experience, snow helps to highlight some easy reads. Tracking in snow is paramount to learning the language of movement; dare I say habit? Even at the farm, human paths, our transition of habit across the zone one living space, shows up in well worn footsteps, shared direction towards basic needs.

Hibernation is welcome, though the responsibilities of care for the farm and self mount in times of inclement weather. Taking brakes, warming up, staying dry, these needs merit productivity. Though plans have slowed, projects continue. We’re germinating seeds, incubating eggs, processing food, and eating preserves most enjoyed during the coldest, darkest months. This is winter in all her glory; Leafhopper Farm celebrates this season and shares gratitude for hearth and annual rhythms.

There is also a feeling of change; traveling on the glimpses of blue sky, a beam of sunshine through the clouds. When this snow has melted, our evergreen world will return. Before the winter storms rolled through, I saw cherry trees in blossom, the flowers of oso berry about to unfurl, and nettle was leafing out. These are all heralds of Spring, and she is on her way to The Pacific Northwest. This is winter’s final act, and the finale was huge. Grateful for the frozen wonder, which has captivated our rhythms of daily life, forcing a final reflection of what has come, towards what will be; are you ready for bursting forth? Life is stirring just beneath the ground.

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