We are thirty five days into winter. Twenty five days into this new and only year of 2018. It has been desperately cold since Christmas with a few days of warm reprieve this week. It feels a bit tardy for Happy New Year wishes and goal setting.

Yet, I have always liked this alluring paradox of new when there is so little daylight and so much cold.

Maryland has been a bit of a frozen tundra the last few weeks, and I feel the ache in my feet from tooling around on this un-cushioned ground. So much at the farm froze, broke – seemed to give up. There is much to be done: breaking ice for water troughs to be replenished, setting hay out for the herd to eat and stay warm, mucking here and there, everywhere. When the environment feels so hostile, it is tempting to mirror the harshness of the scenery. Tempting, but also dangerous to stay on this icy superficial level. The ground is hard, the wind bites, and the cold penetrates bones, but to deny the earth is prepping for growth, to ignore the days’ light is lengthening, and to forget winter is one of four seasons is defeating.

So, as I sludge around the farm, I find this time of year amazing. To consider all that is percolating beneath the ground; to imagine all the warmth cocooning seedlings deep in the earth, beyond the reach of freeze; to acknowledge the busy energy that in this moment, I can not see, hear, or smell is a profound exercise in hope.  Even when change seems impossible in the harshest of environments, the hope lies in the wisdom of possibility rooted just below the dormant surface: working, growing, shifting, preparing and gathering for change. We just need to know it is there, ready to be tended and nourished and cultivated. Acknowledging shifts the perspective. Nothing has given up, we can mend the broken to begin to unfreeze. Funny and comforting that today, this 25th of January, the earth is squishy and loose, ready to shift into a new form.