January is here in all its quiet and subdued glory. After all the hoopla of the holidays, I always think it feels just right to get back to the routines, to embrace fully the structure of this first, uneventful month of the year. In our home, on this farm, this month is, like it is for so many people, completely under control. We have lots of goals and lots of plans, and for now, we have the time, space, and energy to keep to them, the path clearly laid out. This is a beautiful thing.
The tricky part is–and we all know this well–not all of this is likely to hold a whole year through. Life will have its way, too. There will be detours unforeseen. For us, no matter the plan, there is that moment every farming season when the only control possible is to let go of control, to simply let the water pull us under, knowing that the only way to make it out alive is not to hold our breath or struggle against things, but to instead just become the fish. To let ourselves be fully immersed. We will be there again, I know, busier than busy, lifting so much life in our arms from this ever abundant earth. That is part of our goal, after all, even if that itself becomes its own force to be reckoned with, a force that our neat and tidy days of January can scarcely hope to keep shackled to the shape we’ve drawn for it here in this stillness.
Right now, we make lists, order seeds, plan and schedule, and it soothes our human instinct to have order, to be in control, just as much as the times of feeling out of control beautifully humble us each year when we find ourselves at the mercy–in ways both wonderful and challenging–of the natural world.
Right now, waking in the dark, writing every day, having the time already for a break at sunrise to watch the red sky awaken the world around me–believe me, there is a part of me that wants to stay right here. This feels perfect.
But this isn’t how life works, and why should it?
Life is a force to be reckoned with. All we have is this moment. The real resolutions, each year, the ones that matter to us most, the ones we hope to keep true at their core and really want to bring to light can’t be heavy with their own stomachfuls of stone. Sometimes, what may masquerader as strength in January can end up being a mere veneer, hiding underneath it a brittle underbelly that just can’t weather the storm.
After thirty-seven years and so much paying attention, this is one of the good lessons I know I’ve learned, but the kind that I need to always remind myself of, especially now, in sweet January.
Don’t forget to tie up those hopes and dreams and innumerable plans with the highest quality rubber bands you can buy.
The kind of strength this ship needs is the kind found in elasticity, not rigidity.
Wrap me around this life, a million times over in any sort of direction, and I swear I won’t break. And when I’m unwound, I’m still the same still thing I was, not bent at all. The shape remains.
I swear this to myself, right now, in this peaceful, perfect moment, this one sunrise. And, I’ll try, at least, to say it with each other predictable morning sunrise I get to see.
“If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.”