December 21st marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, the first day of winter and that our days are now getting more sun light.
Last summer was full of hot, grueling labor. Winter is time to grow your skin back, to heal, to get your spine lengthened out again, rejuvenate your organs and joints with bone broth soup, root veggies and squash. We take this time to recognize with pride the toll our bodies take during the farming season, by prioritizing comfort and healing in this one. We are thankful to have a sauna here on the farm (a great addition for winter sanity). There is a Danish tradition of hygge to get through long dark winters with gratitude and relaxation. It involves nourishing warmth, light, candles, fire, sauna, gathering with good food and drink, cross country skiing, telling stories, and music - quality coziness.
The quiet of this time allows us to hear our inner drum beat more clearly, the animals scurrying, the creaking of the ice, the howling wind. Winter gives space for introspection. Reconciling the farm accounting books and the calendars for the year has brought a wellspring of gratitude and nostalgia around the close of 2016. Remembering the faces from all of the weddings, laughter of student groups splashing at the end of the dock, the sounds of live music echoing off the lake and trees late into the night. We will do one more official farm year review as a team as we head into the New Year. All of the thoughtful feedback from our guests, students and farm team will lead us solidly into our next season. Honest self reflection and listening will improve and deepen our commitment to our work with this land and our community.
Our pace mimics the perils and pleasures of the season. We naturally slow down in this time. As Penny Livingston-Stark says, "We are nature working." We shift from sweaty, sure footed sprints through woodlands thick with mosquitos to careful, methodical steps while carrying wood, water, and hay over slippery ice and snow. All tasks are informed by the attitude of the weather that day. Taking more time indoors allows us to clean and organize our space, and design it for our health and productivity. We've already had a few polar vortex nights but the temps are back up for now.
This warm, safe farm den can feel far away from the hustle and bustle of seasonal commerce. Even limited metropolitan exposure stirs consumer-induced heart (soul) palpitations for us. Some of the highest quality food, presents, and crafts come from our friends and neighbors. So, instead of reviewing the temporary glee from our top doorbuster doodads, we ask each other, "How many eagles did you see today? Are the animals safe and happy? What did you create?"
We, at Lily Springs Farm welcome the return of the sun, and wish you a happy first day of winter.
~ Drew Slevin and Lindsay Rebhan (brought to you by a few cups of coffee, hot oats and berries)