Who's Listening in Spring 2024

Published on 14 June 2024 at 06:34

This spring I was prepping areas to plant. In the area we call "The Wild Things", which feels relevant. I'm almost always listening to a podcast when doing this type of work. I don't think I've listened to a new song since 2018. In the middle of an episode, I felt a sense of uncertainty. There is always so much to do, at the farm and everywhere else. I wasn't sure if what I was doing was the best use of my time. I know just about every adult can relate - should I be working? Doing laundry? Relaxing? Trying something new? Prepping meals? Running errands? Finishing the unending to do list? Spontaneously picking the kids up from school and simply enjoying them? I felt the stress of wondering...no, agonizing...over all that needed to be done.


I don't do this often, but I asked for a sign that I was in the right place. Doing the right thing. Let me say that I don't feel the universe is that petty, and yet, my airpods stopped. I listened to the quiet for a few moments, and then I started to hear owls hooting back and forth. A few days prior, my father-in-law showed me a photo of an owl perched in a tree by the creek. (My father-in-law, perhaps more famously known for his expertise as our branch manager, though trust me, he's somehow an even better father.) It was the first time we've seen an owl and I was fascinated, almost desperately searching for the owl in each tree after he shared this picture. Then in this moment I hear two barred owls. They hooted back and forth to each other. I stood in amazement and simply listened. Even though I wasn't a part of their conversation, the moment felt like reassurance that this is where I was meant to be. My greater message and challenge might be to more often look for, and listen for, signs that I'm where I'm meant to be. And even if it's all concocted in my head, does that matter? If we're looking and listening for purpose, we just might find it.


In the tangible world of the farm, we planted 2400 trees this spring. With the milder weather, Christmas came early and we were able to plant in mid-April instead of May. It allowed us to spread out the work between two weekends, a back saver for sure! We planted 1600 fraser firs, 700 balsam firs, and 100 white pines. The front three acres on the south side of the farm are now full of fraser fir saplings. The north side of the farm is coming back to life row by row. In admiring the farm through all the weather the spring brings and all the different times of day, the farm feels refreshed, delighted, and even playful.


In our final acts to reset the farm, Dan and the branch manager have been grinding stumps and boxblading the cleared areas so they'll be ready to start over in a few years. Mowing has been another full time job, and we're grateful for the growth that this rainy season has sprung! The boys have kept busy picking up sticks, climbing the dirt piles, picking pinecones, and playing any game from well-established sports to newly created imaginative games. Sticks and dirt are great for the latter. The work and adventures will continue this summer and hopefully will include frogs, monarch caterpillars, and the occasional snake. The new growth on the trees hints at days of shearing, and we're stretching our arms and shoulders in anticipation. So much has begun. So much promise lies ahead. And this time I'm listening to the beginnings and promises.

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