Sunday, March 31, 2013

Faith in tiny seeds

Like hibernating bears crawling sleepily out of our caves, rubbing our eyes, we look around and wonder, isn't it about time to see our shadows?  Doesn't the sun usually grace us with a warm, kind, welcome this time of year?  Daffodils and birdsong?  Is there some kind of reverse-season trick going on, and winter is here to stay? 

My planting schedule says I should be plowing by now.  But the ground (when I can see it between snowstorms) has barely thawed out, let alone dried out enough to think about driving a tractor over it.  Is it really wise to begin planting tomato seeds soon? 

It is always a leap of faith to start up the greenhouse in the snowy tundra that is Mud Creek Farm for half the year.  I scrape the snow out of the way of the greenhouse doors, maybe dislodge the ice with a heavy shovel, check that we have some gas in the propane tanks, and light the pilot light on the heater.   A plastic curtain is hung so that we don't have to heat the entire greenhouse for the first few weeks, just three tables.  I turn on the water to the hose, and take a deep breath as another growing season begins.

In protest of the sleet, snow, slush, ice, freezing rain, grey days, wintry mix, I decide I will wear a dress every day this week.  If it doesn't help the sun come out, maybe it will help my willpower.

Volunteers help motivate me too, help me believe that what I'm doing is not in fact crazy. 

I am always amazed at the spirit of dedication that folks bring out to the farm with them when they offer to lend a hand, at whatever needs doing around the farm.  We are all in this together.

The seeds we shake into the trays are so tiny, that the room becomes hushed, as people are concentrating so hard that they can't even afford to make small talk.  It is a quiet zen moment, as we all put our effort and our faith in these little brown seeds that blend in quite inconveniently with the potting soil mix.

At least it's warm in the greenhouse-- it felt really good to remove layers in the near-80-degree temperatures.  A sneak-preview of the summer.  Memories of sweaty July days seem so far away right now though.

As I watered in all the tables of trays that we filled with soil, seeds, and intention, the scent of moist warm earth somehow awakened something in me.  Brought me out of hibernation, like a cup of strong coffee.  Before we know it, all this hope and potential will be exploding in eager green growth -- robust transplants ready to go into the fields, throw their roots in the ground, raise tall round leaves to the sky.  Then, when the time is right we will harvest, ripe and juicy, what we've sown.

Happy spring.

May we cultivate the patience and bravery that spring from faith in tiny seeds.

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