We woke to another 18 inches of snow yesterday morning,
and I spent an hour shoveling out the car and clearing a pathway from our driveway to the house. It’s soft, light snow, and I didn’t mind at all that I was out bending and lifting and pushing. I was happy to do it, in exchange for Edge running the errands in town, dropping our son off at Nan and Gramp’s house, and leaving me to the rhythmic quiet of shovel and snow.
Maybe that’s why I can feel the muscles in my back this morning, and why I leaned into each stretch deeper than usual as I waited for the kettle to whistle.
The snow quiets me.
I know myself well enough that I’m not surprised anymore when the external landscape affects my internal landscape so immediately. This time of year I feel the swing between the increased energy of lengthening days and the invitation of stillness the post-storm offers. Likewise, I spend too many hours in front of the computer and my mind turns into a tornado, unsure of where to stop. The only thing that seems to counteract it is to strap on snowshoes and plod up the old logging road, writing a journey in the snow as my body takes over and clears the jumble of thoughts.
A few weeks ago, in a moment of feeling utterly stuck while working on a writing project, I put out a call for help on instagram:
“Some days are stuck-days. You know? Days when everything seems to be swirling around you, but your own feet can’t find the ground. I try to remember what it feels like to move along the rows, planting flowers. I try to remember that it comes step by step.
Still, I didn’t do much sprouting, let alone blooming, today. Rather, I feel like a seed buried in soil. I know the roots will spread and the stem will poke up through the soil and leaves will unfurl and find the sun, but geez. The time before it all happens really requires stubborn persistence. Maybe patience would help, but I think seeds rely more on persistence. Don’t you?
For anyone working on a project, creative or otherwise, what are your tricks to getting un-stuck?“
Amidst the many suggestions of how to break up the work and give myself actionable steps, my friend Carl cut to the heart of it:
“I have learned to try to embrace it…More than patience, or waiting, just an acceptance of lack of action. There is a season, and all that.
We convince our selves that it is all about activity, but for every flow there is an ebb, and every state of being has an unexplained, undefinably eloquent genius. I don’t believe that the seed finds its value in roots and stems, or the possibility of blooms. The seed is the seed… At that place and time, a seed, with little distinction from its surroundings… And that is enough.
The same is actually true of the blooming plant, but we choose to differentiate. The value and beauty of the seed is not the bloom…It is in the silent inactivity…Quiet your soul and mind, and embrace yourself with the cool moist soil of rest…Rejuvenation will come in its own time.”
In it’s own time. And it has. I got un-stuck, and then a few days later found myself procrastinating some more, and then creating some more, and then sitting silently again.
The most meaningful thing I have learned as a farmer is that rhythms are motion. That even in times of rest, in the seed stage, I’m moving along a certain wavelength. Remembering that transformation will happen helps me loosen up and trust and get back to my part of the bargain: watering the seeds I want to sprout, tending to the life I want to grow.