I have been asked in the past if wintertime had me itching for spring—itching to get my hands dirty in some rich soil, itching to get seeds in the ground. In some aspects, I suppose it is true. Much of the winter season for me and for many other gardeners is spent with our noses stuck in colorful seed catalogs. Elbow deep in graphs and charts. Comparing notes from the previous season as well as seasons long before that. Contemplating what system works best for which crop and how will we manage against certain pests. Even with all of that, or maybe because of all of that, I can honestly say that winter is my favorite season. Although I can not speak for all other farmers, I do honestly believe that we all have a special place in our hearts for winter.
Spring brings us that newness and rebirth of life. A smell beyond all smells. Fresh and clean. Summer brings us long days, full of sunshine. A warmth and energy that makes us believe we could go on forever. Fall brings us all the gifts from our hard work. And food, the feasts of fall are by far a favorite. But winter, well winter gives us rest and reflection. A chance to take a look over the past year. A chance to just appreciate. Winter allows us to exist within a moment, just exist.
I had a friend send me this message the other day: “Il bel far niente means ‘the beauty of doing nothing’…[it] has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.”
For many off us (and not just farmers) winter signifies that “nothing.” We Michiganders are fortunate to live in a climate that makes sure we are taking the time to achieve that moment of nothing. Mother nature takes care of us in so many ways, and winter is her way of saying “good job, now you can rest.”
So take that moment to breathe, to reflect, to simply do nothing. You have all earned it.
—Rose (your hibernating farmer)