I really needed a winter like this. Wet. Dark. Somber skies and gray overcasting the evergreens embracing our home. I needed time to thoughtfully wash dishes and see that the garden was mossy and wilted, not calling me out to weed nor to plant. I needed to spend a slow Christmas, and to just savor my snail mail and magazines and tea cups warming my hands without rushing out to milk a goat or check the beehive or mulch or do whatever else that pushes me to rush through my days no matter how intentional I want to live every day.
Every day I miss my baby. And I feel guilty for not missing her enough. Winter has been good for snuggling into grief, for seeing God through the hurt.
I miss, too, the feeling of my house and all within it welcoming me *home*. How does a woman release her house to the wind and then bloom within it again, returned to her?
And I’m weary of failed relationships, of people who are quick to think the worst, forgive the least, and continually set the bar too high for me to achieve any love in return.
I needed winter.
My doe greeted me today as I spoke to her softly and patted her babies playfully clamoring all around my boots. Since becoming a mother, she has given her trust to me, and no longer shies away when I approach. It is a balm to my soul, this little thing the Lord has done in my barnyard. And I confirmed that yes, one of her teats has dried up already. She suffered a small wound on that side and wouldn’t allow the bucks to touch her. Her udder is half deflated. Sort of like winter. Sort of like me. I stroked her neck and received her grunts and nudgings.
I closed and latched the barn dutch door, more for a wind break than for predator control. I patted my maremma, “good dog…” knowing that he would sleep in the barn, alert even while dreaming. The clouds overhead were moving at a good clip, swirling over themselves. I dug my hands into my pockets and headed towards the house with yellow light casting out of the windows.
On the way I noticed the buds on several tired shrubs, pushing forth life into pregnant pods. Red branches were at least a good four inches anew throughout last year’s maple, reminding me I hadn’t pruned this winter. Irises that won’t bloom until May–my baby was due in May–are already on their way up through the soil. And the garlic. The garlic that I debated about planting last fall…
“What if we’re not here? What if the new owners don’t even know what it is?” I asked my husband.
“Plant it anyway. It would be a blessing to the mommy who would live here. Bless her.”
I laugh. Me. I am the one blessed. With garlic, with goats, with six (six!) lovely children, with a steady husband, with a house halfway through chaotic redecorating and repainting and re-introducing itself to me as my home.
I needed winter, God. But thank you for the tender buds that promise me the spring to come. Thank You for renewing my heart day by day, and truly most of all, for You.