Over and Over

I recently bought a wooden, waldorf-style, calendar for the kids, A little splurge for something beautiful and fun to give them a better sense of how to conceptualize or measure the passage of days and months. For most of my life, I’ve imagined time and envisioned the calendar as a long long line of years and months and days that stretches on and on behind and in front of me. Maybe its because I am nearing my last birthday of my 30s but as I’ve lived more years, I can see the circles more, the repeating patterns of seasons and rhythms over and over and over.

Within those circles, or long stretching lines, of months and years I feel time speeding ahead but in my mental calendar only reveals a fraction of what each day will bring. Like Phil Connors, waking up again and again in Punxsatawny, I sometimes feel certain I am repeating the same day over and over. Preparing meals, doing dishes, sweeping up dirt and crumbs, hanging laundry in the fresh air. Life is full of routines that must be repeated seemingly forever, until the weather, or the season, or the person changes. The old pattern is quickly forgotten replaced by a new unending stretch. Night after night, when I’m settled in a cozy spot by the fire, it’s hard to remember the summer breezes that come through the constantly open windows once the weather is warm.

There is comfort in knowing the seasons as they come and go. The sun that streams into our house on the cold days of March and October, shining away the chill but also illuminating every speck of dust and grime that I try to ignore. This sun that has been waking me up from my winter hibernation and reminding me that I will soon be busy outside every day. Slowly, the snow is receding from our yard, a tiny glacier slinking back toward the woods a little bit each day. The soggy landscape is shades of gray, brown, and ochre, our garden beds have popped up as the snow melted around them but we have not spied any signs of sprouting bulbs yet. Amos and Eowyn have been playing in the mud and “waking up the garden.” I’m reminded of every morning of their struggle to let sleeping things lie.

Each day, I consider the upcoming seasons in the garden, continually ruminating on the hard but satisfying work of the months ahead. I’m still a little sleepy but spring will wake up soon and the excitement of harvesting dinner right outside my front door will return. As much I as can anticipate the heavy lifting of building new beds and the delicate hope of tucking seedlings into the soil, I can’t be sure it will turn out like it did last year. There are always changes, additions, unexpected and planned diversions from the way I thought things would go.

In a month, I’ll plant our little orchard and berries, adding new tasks and skills to the my gardening experience. At first the planting, watering, pruning, and caring will be a challenge. I feel uncertain and a bit overwhelmed by taking on these new tasks, but the only way it will eventually become a routine process is to begin it now. I’m grateful to exist in a place of some certainty with rhythms and seasons I can count on and for the new skills and challenges that the years ahead will bring.