My twelve year old looked me in the eye, a look of curiosity on her face.
“You sound like an old lady, Mom. Things are getting weird.”
(Psh. Frankly, I think that's a bit harsh.)
I had just been boldly laying out my plans for the seasons ahead to her – which may have included bat houses, hatching monarchs, more bird houses, a meadow of wild flowers, and…. perhaps sheering some sheep and learning to spin their wool.
Perhaps my current hobbies of cleaning the house, tending the garden, baking bread, ironing linens, hatching eggs, researching local birds, and watching YouTube videos on spinning wool may seem a bit old fashioned to a twelve year old, but I take no issue with it. In fact, the deeper I dive the more pleasure there is to be found.
One thing I know for sure: the answer isn't out in the world.
But don't worry, I'm not a hermit either. I interact regularly with normal people. Namely, the many people in my church, my extended family, close friends, and various community connections and activities. I get out of the house plenty (for my taste). I can talk to people and act normal. But…
…when I get home, I'll happily research citrus varieties for greenhouse growing and ways I can bring hummingbirds into the garden.
Frankly, I think this is a huge part of the reason that February can tend to be so hard for me. There's a lot of work to do for me as a homesteader in February, from rotating storage crops, to preparing for lambing and calving, to organizing and preparing for seed sowing. I have to spend time thinking about the seasons ahead but I can't quite get started yet. It's a time of tension. Of split tasks and divided attentions. Of not here and not there yet.
Biting off more than I can chew is inevitable. It's the crippling weight of being a dreamer who jumps in the deep end – of being a “cowboy” as my husband calls me.
The world needs cowboys.
I've been a gardener for many, many years now. As a young girl, I convinced my mom to let me plant and tend to one of her garden beds – my mother always had beautiful gardens. I remember what was planted where – almost to every detail. It's funny looking back now at how much I was always this way. Because of this, I still hold a soft spot for variegated irises, lily of the valley, succulents, and sunflowers.
This many years into being who I am, I know that I'll regret every life decision I've ever made in late August when the weeds win, the gardens are crispy, the produce is overrun and overwhelming, the flies attack me while I milk the cow, and the lambs are grown and acting like stupid teenagers. Oh, and my friends are at the lake for the day.
Still, here we are. Charging forward into the oblivion of the season that awaits with the enthusiasm of a cow when she discovers the gate's been left open.
(Have you ever seen a family cow when they escape? They're hilarious, jumping around, kicking up their heels, and feeling quite proud of themselves.)
Each day I spend on the farm, I seem to fall further in love with God, the ultimate Creator and Great Artist, and what he has given us to taste and enjoy here on the losing side of Glory. It's all touched by sin, by a fallen world, but it's still so telling of the God we worship.
I don't just love bats, hummingbirds, zinnias, pumpkins, soil, snow, or bulbs. I don't just love these things for what they are. When I'm outdoors – whether it be attending a lamb's birth, planting garlic, or listening to rain – it's like getting to spend time in God's playground. A museum, a shop of curiosities, an art gallery that sparks my creativity, fastens my faith in His hand that sustains it all, and gives my heavenly thirst a drink of cold water.
God created the crab apple blossom, the woodpecker, the sunrise. All held together by the perfect conductor.
Can you even imagine what the news heavens and the new earth will be like. My God, how I yearn to see what nature will be like in glory!
For now, I will settle for flowers that die, bugs that bite, and trees that get diseases because I hold on with faith that this isn't where it ends. This is simply the invitation to a Great Feast, our spots at the table secured by Christ, and yet even still here we still get the blessing of crops that grow and the warmth of sun on our faces.
The feel of a lovers hand.
The taste of a summer strawberry.
… there are signs of God's Glory everywhere.
Maybe that means I spend a bit more time meditating on the crimping of a lamb's wool or work hard on planting flowers that brings more critters into our little pocket of earthly paradise. But it's because there's beauty and glory to be found there.
… in which case, I'm totally fine being weird.