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Friday, May 18, 2007

Planting Summer in the Snow

Okay, what happened? last week was sunny and warm in the Canadian Maritimes. The door to Spring was thrown wide open as temperatures climbed into "balmy" territory. Locals were giddy after the long winter. Then it was as if Ma Nature flipped us back into winter, yelling,"Psych"!

On Wednesday the air temperature was hovering near freezing. As a steady wind blew down from the north I bent over the prepared soil in a field I have been fallowing for 3 years. I carefully placed each seed for our potatos, peas, spinach, beets and chard into the moist earth. My hands were numb. I kept working. My back hurt. I kept working. My legs ached. I kept working. Snow and rain in the forcast that night meant finishing all of the field work 3 days sooner than I had expected. After snow and rain soaked the dirt it would simply be mud. Too wet to plant. So I kept working.

Why?

All winter I had been making plans. Placing seed orders, organizing tasks so I could optimize the 2 weeks in May when the farm wakes up. My vision of summer bounty required that certain work be done - no matter what.

My plans were largely destroyed by first contact with reality on the ground. I spent time revising expecations and re-organizing tasks. I juggled my time around weather forcasts and visiting neighbors, production work in the studio and just plain daydreaming. But the real test of my creative vision was on that cold afternoon when my body wanted to quit and accept the consequences. I kept working.

And here's what I learned:

Make plans. Then scrap them.

Reality just is.

It's amazing how powerful an intention can be.

I beleive in what I'm doing enough to be uncomfortable in the process of doing it.

It's about love!


Tomorrow, I will leave for Santa Barbara. My seeds are planted. The weather will soon be warm and summer will come. The fields and flowers will be beautiful. I will pick beans with my wife, I will smell fresh mowed grass, I will watch my children steal sweet peas in the late afternoon, I will meet charming couples from Montreal, freckled kids and their parents from Ontario and smiling locals. I will laugh with friends who come home to the island each summer for wine and potluck suppers at the shore and a pack of kids and dogs will scream and shout into the deep twilight.

Summer.

Sometimes you have to plant it in the snow.

1 comment:

Darryl Pearce said...

...so, um, er, uh, your farm has "hands" when you're on the other side (both west and south) of the continent?

I'm kind of a homebody... I couldn't stand it when I had to commute those 55 miles to that one temp job.

And where I'm at now: they think nothing of sending tech-support guys to the South China Sea!