Anticipating the small window of spring on the farm

By Helen Chandler

I didn’t realize how quiet the winter had been until the birds returned with their racket! Ducks are landing in the pond in the field next door. So much quacking! The sandhill cranes and their throaty chortle, the geese and their honking, the red winged black birds and their trill, all are signs of spring, all speaking to us.

I was walking up from the field last Sunday morning after venting our hoop houses where the winter greens have grown. I felt the warm air. I saw the diminishing puddles, and I wondered, is this a day that I get to do tractor work? I knelt and touched the soil and smelled the earth. It was still soft and damp, forming a ribbon between my fingers. Not yet, but soon, it said. That day in the spring, when it is finally time to “get into the field” will come abruptly, despite the amount of anticipation surrounding it. It will be soon—probably within the next three weeks, provided it doesn’t rain too much. We have to be ready. We only get small windows in the spring.
But whether it is in the next few days or the next few weeks, it is going to happen. We have reached the season of inevitability. I take heart in that, especially during a time of so much uncertainty due to the spreading coronavirus. I am comforted to know the days are getting longer, the soil is warming, and the earthworms are rising to the surface. We still have our work to do. We all must continue to eat, so we must continue to grow our food. The future is open—if not completely known, at least familiar—and we are constantly stepping over the threshold.

Photo Credit: Helen Chandler

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