It’s a stressful time: many of the year’s crops need to go in all at once, and the soil has to be just right to be able to plant. It’s often a time of waiting: of cultivating patience to wait for conditions to be right. Yet, conditions are almost never perfect and you still have to take the plunge and hope for the best.
A group of girl scouts visited our farm a couple of weeks ago. There were three different types of baby animals to see (a wonderful treat on our farm): a foal, 4-day old chicks, and 12-week old piglets. Oh, plus the human baby, Cedar. They were enamored. As they were holding baby chicks, I noticed that some of the girls held out their hands and the chicks sat there, curious and and content. Some other girls wanted to be sure the chicks didn’t jump out of their hands, so they tried to hold onto the chicks. Those little chicks that were held too tightly peeped in distress and tried to get free, wriggling and jumping down and away from their captors.
One lesson we experienced this year (and really learn every year, I think; I don’t know if or when it will stick), is to be grateful for what comes. There was a day when we were geared up to have a big planting day. The plants were ready, we were ready, we had worked the soil the day before, it was supposed to rain the next day, and we were going to get it all in. Then the rains came early. No planting possible. We spent a long minute being disappointed and frustrated. All those plants needed to get into the ground, and now we (and they) had to wait! We need to plant! Then we caught ourselves: “wait a minute, I was hoping rain wouldn’t come? We need the rain! There’s a severe drought in most of the country, and we are receiving nourishing rain. Lets be grateful for what comes.” For the reality that is here and now.
There can be a lot of anxiety in farming, especially in the Spring, wanting and willing the weather to cooperate with you; with your needs; with the needs of your farm. As weather patterns continue to change and become more and more unpredictable, it will be a challenge to us all to learn to adapt, to learn to be grateful for what Is. We can’t control the weather. (We can’t control much, when we really think about it). But we can work with what we have, and with what we receive. We can take a cultivate posture within ourselves of open hands.