As of today, there are 15 days until the winter solstice. Fifteen more days of diminishing daylight. Fifteen more days when I will find myself putting up the animals earlier and earlier as twilight creeps in at 4:30, 4:15, 4:00. The animals don’t seem to mind, which baffles me- how are they not railing against this sharply increased confinement? How come they’re not obviously cranky and out of sorts, mourning the loss of those summer days and evenings which would stretch out, glimmering and bright, and long?
But the animals don’t seem to be upset by this turn of events, and as I’ve been making it a point of entering more mindfully into life outside my house walls, I’m trying not to be, too.
So I tell myself that 15 days isn’t that long. And then, from that point on, every single day will get brighter. Every single day will bring spring closer, and the weeks leading up to spring will be filled with seed starting and tending, of garden planning and prepping. Next year- itself a short 24 days away!- we will take our tax return money and buy a used tractor. Next year, we’re going to start a very small test CSA, tiny and experimental, but with an eye to expanding in the future. Those things alone consume so much time in research and craigslist scouring.
Before I know it, I know it, the days will be back to what I deem “normal”, and I’ll be able to fill evening with work, instead of closing up shop in the afternoon and spending hours with darkness settled over the farm like a swaddling blanket. So it’s important for me to stop my brain and desires from launching themselves off into that future, and rather to stay here, rooted in this moment, in the this day, with this amount of sunlight to work outside. I am trying to learn from the goats and ducks and chickens, and not rail against this increased confinement.
I’ve said before that I understand God speaks to me through this farm. His conversations with me are in the rustling of the leaves in the woods, the sun on my skin, the richness of the soil beneath my feet. And for all the times I’ve heard and told the joke about not asking God for patience, because He will surely respond with opportunities to practice it, I’ve never really cared to develop that virtue, not really. It wasn’t until I moved here that those lessons in patience started sinking in. Here, with frozen soil beneath my feet that I hope to fill with good things to eat. Here, with animals I rely on for food, who calmly allow themselves to be led back to the barn sooner and sooner every day. Here, where I can clearly track the truncated trajectory of the sun across the sky.
It’s this place where I’ve finally surrendered to God and His lessons about patience, about timing, and most importantly, about putting your feet firmly in the moment, and breathing in every ounce of beauty and goodness from it.