Monday, February 17, 2014

The Snow Moon and the Spring to Come

Snow moon at Wellspring, 2/14/14
This weekend began with a Snow Moon on Friday night. Some Native American tribes call the February full moon "the Snow Moon" because it was often the time when the greatest amount of snowfall came.  The weekend following the full moon was another that offered below 20 degrees by day and single digits at night. Admittedly, the colder temperatures this winter have been hard to handle. I love all the snow, but these very cold temps appear to be the new "normal" (what's normal anyway?) and it's been hard to accept that. The cold challenges our ability to stay warm in the poorly insulated tent we call home; it tests our water system and the resilience of our cheeks, fingers and toes (thank god for wool, fleece and down!)

Yet last night, as I reflected upon the week prior, I felt a soothing exhaustion within my muscles. I lay under a blanket with my 2 pups while the wood stove radiated warmth both as temperature and as light.  And my entire being was at peace.

Sadie (now with a GPS collar!)
The week started with a ski trip to Tug Hill. A wonderful snowy weekend, just the 4 of us, until Sadie ran away on our second ski of the day. She was missing for hours. It was dark. It was snowing, and of course, it was cold.  Losing hope, at 6:10pm I asked my friends to pray for her. At 6:11 I was crying. At 6:20 I met Steve at our agreed meet-up spot. And Sadie was there too.
It was nothing short of a miracle.

Sunlit woods CT Hill
This whole week (though still cold) gifted us brilliantly sunny skies, crisp clean air and snow as soft as sifted powered sugar.  The x-country skiing is magical right now and it's the perfect way to get outside and stay warm no matter how cold.

On Sunday morning we went for a 3 hour ski. Then spent 3 hours trudging through the snow with the help of our neighbors to tap ~100 sugar maple trees on our land. A short thaw is coming Tuesday, and we're now ready to harvest the sugary gift of winter.

Metal maple buckets
Sure, the cold can make us all pretty cranky. It certainly makes duck chores less enjoyable, and the second time our water froze - this time it's frozen until the spring thaw -  I really thought I was ready to give up on our lifestyle. But as I reflect on the winter, it has been one of lessons learned and always something to be grateful for if we look for it. (Steve figured out a backup system so we still have water - stay tuned for that blog post).  I now can surrender to winter and I welcome it's force, it's softness and it's gifts.

The Snow Moon also represents the coming of spring. It’s the time when the seeds start stirring to life under the cold ground. The farmers are planning for the season. The animals are readying for their spring births and we are reminded that the long winter will not be here forever.

The Peace of Wild Things - Berry  

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.