Cathy-Hird-tulipsBy Cathy Hird

Creation is in a hurry. One day last week, the tulip buds had barely formed when I went in for lunch. After the meal, there were ten brilliant red flowers near the tool-shed with rose coloured ones beside the lilacs. An hour later, there were yellow and red ones by the house.

It wasn't just tulips. When I walked down the hill to weed part of the garden, I saw dandelion leaves. When I came back to the house, fourteen were in flower. Until that day the only colour came from the daffodils, bright yellow trumpets, a double white one, and some with pale rose trumpets and white petals. Suddenly, there was colour everywhere.

The arrival of colour felt surprising because this year because even green was slow to come. Just a couple weeks ago, we had a dusting of snow, and the ground froze solid. Plants waited out the cold spell. During the previous week, pussy willow branches had pushed out grey catkins, then waited. Lilac buds swelled and waited. Grey-brown grass lay flat, a fire hazard as some people in our area discovered when they tried to burn brush and started grass fires.

Then, as soon as it turned warm, green grass came alive. Forsythia burst into a yellow as bright as sunshine. Lilacs leafed out. Tulips bloomed and all the perennials sprang up. Spring burst into life.

Last week, being aware of my surroundings meant an awareness of movement, change, pressing life. It struck me that we often think that connecting with creation means stillness. But right now, nature is neither still nor slow.

At first, I felt a sense of joy. Then, I started the lawn tractor and cut the grass. I saw twitch grass 15cm high and worried that it would take over several garden areas if I didn't work at pulling it. The pasture was growing too, so I added fixing fences to my task list so the sheep could get out of the barn and into the field.

Suddenly, there was a list of to-dos that I could not keep up with. I stopped and sat down on the step of the deck. Instead of being in this moment and working with what creation was about right now, I had started to worry about the whole season. This was not awareness of the world around me. This was thinking about what I wanted the garden to produce. This was dreaming about what the yard should look like. I let what I saw take me out of today and into tomorrow.

I made myself sit still for a bit longer. I took a moment to be thankful that we are not planting grain this year. The last couple years, we have been cutting back on farming, and the first step had been a decision to leave the fields in hay and buy grain. Other years on a day like this, I would have been cultivating or picking rocks, and the twitch grass would be getting way ahead of me.

I have been watching other farmers hurrying around their fields. Folks are anxious because last fall's late rains and early snow meant little of the land got worked up. As soon as possible, they got out the disks and cultivators and seed drills. Last week a lot of land got planted, and I noticed some spring grain is already up.

Creation has shifted again with cooler weather and rain. The moisture is timely. The ground, the seeds and the seedlings will soak it up. Farmers will take a break from the long hours on the tractor. Some will be worried about the acres and acres still to plant, but that is worrying about tomorrow. There is time left.

It is hard for us to remain in the moment we are given. Awareness of what is around us can stimulate worry as quickly as gratitude. We are as aware of tomorrow's demands as we are of today's gifts.

Creation can help us to be in this moment even in the spring. The ground I dug in last week was dry. Now, it is wet, and leaves are bursting into the green that only the burgeoning life of spring can produce. I stayed inside for a day watching rain fall on the windows.

Cathy Hird is a farmer, minister and writer living near Walters Falls.



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