“Always winter, never Christmas” is a term that is beginning to circulate around the Ozarks. It comes from the wonderful book of Narnia. The world of Narnia is the first thing that came to mind this morning while watching the big, fluffy snowflakes gently fall again.
In the house, the elderberry bush that I brought in last fall, is beginning to put out green leaves. Why is it in the house and not planted? Procrastination. It was a “one of these days” activities that didn’t get done. The dozens of strawberry plants that are in pots in the garage are also producing new, green leaves. We never did figure out where we wanted to establish the new strawberry bed so here they are in pots, in the garage.
The plants in the house are ready for the snow to be gone and so are we. The calves are due any day and I have been dreading them coming with snow on the ground. Sunday morning, our pastor spoke of delivering a calf that morning in the snow and how the snow didn’t matter. Being part of such a miracle of God’s creation was an incredible experience even kneeling in the snow. Thinking through his words, I agree. I could just imagine it. New life taking its first breath in the silence of the snowfall while watching small, new puffs of breath in the cold air….seeing it stand and nuzzle it’s Mama and to hear the first sounds of the calf receiving the life giving nutrition that God created it to receive. Something about all that makes the worlds troubles fall away.
The summer we spent so much time rehabilitating our calf that was attacked in the woods, those hours clearly had more purpose than simply working with the calf. They taught me to appreciate the stillness of a fresh, new morning; to marvel at the determination of God’s creation to live, to learn extreme patience and that everything is in God’s hands not ours. It taught me to enjoy things I would’ve never noticed before like the warmth of a cat on your lap during a chilly fall morning, a cold nose indicating a healthy calf, a strong slurp from a bucket indicating that a bottle is no longer needed, a frisky romp through the field after months of the calf being paralyzed, I could make a long list of things that I learned to love which outweigh the weather and the sometimes back breaking work.
If you were raised on a farm, you more than likely think this is all common knowledge. I wasn’t raised on a farm. Before moving to the country, I spent my days programming computers for the management information systems of the corporate card division for a large bank in downtown Minneapolis. To say that it has been a huge change for me doesn’t even begin to describe it. How did I go from one way of life to another? I chose it. The world teaches us women that we should reach for the stars, have a career, raise your family and you can have it all. I was there. I did that. At the highest point of my career I was extremely unhappy. I had a nice office in one of the tallest buildings of Minneapolis, dressed in very fashionable white collar clothes, spent many lunches getting my nails done and eating at some of the finest restaurants that Minneapolis has to offer, yet that way of life wasn’t for me. It was all a big corporate game and I had had my fill. One year after I left the corporate world, I found myself mucking out one of our horses stalls with muck boots on my feet, a wheelbarrow full of manure (which I was thrilled about for the garden), and filthy hands with chipped nails. I was in my glory and I’ve never looked back.
I share this with you for many reasons. Don’t listen to what the world tells you that you should be doing, it won’t make you happy. Discover your own interests and go after them. I treasure time with my family; I enjoy gardening, canning, cooking, raising animals and developing a homestead. If these are things you wish you knew how to do, find someone to teach you, find a friend with the same interests and learn together. Here I am, tucked away in a small holler of the Ozarks, learning what I enjoy. If I can do it, you can too!