Previously writing for the farm blog, I rambled twice about the seasons that we experienced or were preparing to experience. To keep the flow, I’ll try the same work with Winter and the Prevernal time.
Dylan said it before me – this time of year is one most normally spent dreaming and waiting. And that holds mostly true for the cycle of the farm besides work in season-dilating hoophouses and greenhouses.
Winter offers a space different from the small breaks between crop cycles in other seasons. Weather generally prohibits much earth-moving (whether due to soil freezing or moisture) and inhibits our readiness to work in the field.
The Dark reigns and the Earth reflects a seemingly hard inert shell.
But beneath this lies the spark into which much of life has retreated. Besides the return of the growing days, could this image be the basis of the worldwide phenomenon of light festivals in Winter?
Our activities, too, reflect this pattern. We seek to resolve internal matters (like paperwork, as Dylan has also noted) and prepare for a new year.
It seems, though, that the farm and larger region has entered a new season.
(I again reference the Six Ecological seasons – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season#Modern_mid-latitude_ecological)
The Prevernal time is one not to be diminished. It is a transition within a transition like the Serotinal period.
It is a time marked by the steadily blooming light of day, the calls of the migrating birds like geese, and plumping of the tree buds.
It is a time of inbreath before the burst of life in Spring.
And the farm has seen new life. Work has picked up despite the snow and rain. Crop production classes have picked overwintered Carrots, seeded hundreds of new herb and vegetable transplants, seeded salad mixes, brassicas, spinach, radishes, peas, and other cool-weather crops in the hoophouses and the fields, cleaned and amended beds for later plantings, and (always a step ahead) most generally begun preparations for the aforementioned Spring burst.
From that point on, it’s the maniac blur of work into the Summer until we start it over again.
It’s a beautiful season if you begin to recognize its signs and wonders. Looking onto the farm is a chance to see it refracted through the work of all the students here.