The way to appreciate the arrival of a cold front is not to listen to the report, not to look at maps and graphs and charts, running lines and making pies. You have no idea until you look out and be able to see the wind from the north, see the lines in perfect plumb moving and stinging the leaves into a limp dead wilt. White looking lines of crystal sleet, moving with the force to push masses of air out of its way, forming a river chasm. Streaming sideways around the north of the globe, when you live here in Northern Vermont, you have to want to learn to have a relationship with cold, you really have no choice, either you are here, or you are not. My emotional relationship is thus ; I would prefer to be like the vegetation, or at least have that choice, to shed off my metabolism, draw into my roots, and become dormant, albeit aging in the process.
But today I am being grown up about it, and realize it behooves my own strength to get on with the relationship. I am a martial person on the enneagram,( a Jungian contraption in which you can put yourself in to. ). Which means that I process through physicality and experience. Cold is not pleasant to me, and less so as I rest from aging disease in my bones.If I do “too much” my bones develop bones as they grind each other down. I can write about the cold if the martial tendency needs to be abandoned, and move towards Saturn. the Saturn influence lends an observing eye, always arguing against judgement, and it is cold, it’s eye can be cold because it is aware of time.
I lay in my room and I have this wonderfully large window that looks across at some woods. I have called them “Messiers Woods” for a long time now, although they only go in about 100 feet, there are 3 old Beech trees, yellow and white birch, maples of different type, and spruce and fir getting just enough light to set a foot hold. The light coming from Messiers Woods is pewter, all the hardwood trees are bare, orange sepia leaves remain on some branches, but not many, and they quiver as the trees do the wind dance, back and forth back and forth, sometimes barely, near their crowns, sometimes bending over swaying wildly, frenzied. Yesterday and today they danced like that. Mid Autumn up near the Canadian border has taken over, and it is no time to lay around.
But today hollers for procrastination , for more dormancy than activity, however, there is still good chard and kale and carrots that must be pulled. It’s times like these that I remember one of the good things I enjoyed about whiskey. Today I will put the burden on tea to provide the warmth afterward. You see, I managed to stay in bed while typing this, a few paragraphs about the reluctance to step out into 30 degree weather in the wind to bend over to get the last bits of food out there. “Surely going to the co op or Price Chopper makes more sense, I mean, there’s only about 8 meals those bits could be used for!”
That is the segue-way, I can explain to you why growing the food that I can here, provides me with cleaner nutrition, has a flavor that cannot be bought, adds beauty and bees through the summer months, but I can’t make you understand why making it yield and be successful in this place is so important to me. I understand that, but either there are not enough words to explain it , or it would come out in some bad Dickonsonian (as in Emily of Amherst) “poetry”. This ground was sand and clay, rocks big and small, thick with balsam and spruce choking each other out. I managed to carve out several hundred feet and nourished it, gently cleared and harvested only what I had to. I made soil where there was none, and then the growing in that soil, I only get 140 days, 4 and a half months. The rest of the time, the cold is either coming or going. And I get to challenge myself and my life against it. Me, and my companion, my constant companion in this contest, the presence of God in all creation, and that is the wind too, the crystal sleet, the magnetic direction, the circling, the spinning, the endless clockwork. Those are explaining words, I was called to understand the cold, to live cozy inside it, even if it not my favorite subject, it’s a big part of the whole. I wish for a beautiful winter of creative expression and education. Cooked meals and deep thought that walks the ridgeline, but never plummets until it has wings.