What I wouldn’t give for a greenhouse right now.
The warm, humid smell of green things growing is enough to make me happy for a week during midwinter’s freeze.
I have been known to make friends for the express purpose of visiting their hoop houses in winter, oohing and ahhing over tomatoes in March while breathing deeply the moist earthy air.
In winter, I dream of growing again.
Seed companies know this. Delicious catalogs bring hope to my mailbox in January and February, and while the cold winds blow, far away from tedious weeding and watering in summer's sauna, while last year's worries about insects and mildew and blights are a distant memory, I imagine possibilities.
And I buy three years’ worth of seeds.
But in all of my planning and dreaming, I have to watch it. Because right now it's Winter, and it has its purpose too. If I spend too much time looking forward, I’ll wish the time away.
Apple trees know this. In fact, they welcome winter.
Apple trees, like many fruit trees, need a minimum number of cold winter days before they are able to fruit in the summer. If they don’t get it, their system doesn’t reboot and can’t gear up for the major task of fruiting in summer.
Sure, Becky, you say, I know all about taking a Sabbath day.
But I’m not talking about a day off. I’m talking WINTER: hibernation, Moses in the wilderness, Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. A long isolation from growth and a slowing down, spending only what’s necessary with your reserves. Deep rest.
The apple tree doesn't fight winter. Instead, it prepares for it by moving energy reserves to its roots, dropping leaves, and hardening its wood against the cold. If it pretended that winter wasn't coming, stayed supple and tried to keep growing leaves, it would break and die. So it hunkers down in acceptance.
And it knows that spring will come again.
Winter comes in many forms in our lives. Maybe your finances need a reset, or your health is washed out. Maybe it’s time for a career change or a re-evaluation of relationships. But whatever your winter, don’t waste it.
You'll need it, come spring.
What's your winter these days?