Winter Rest

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The consummation of farming year number six arrived abruptly, almost automatic like the next breath. The ease of external inhalation and exhalation mask a clandestine, internal arrangement intimately crafted and forever dependent on so many parts cooperating. Much like the farm days of early winter, our working hours unravel effortlessly, unrevealing of the exhaustion and feverish efficiency demanded of warmer months. Spring, summer, and even early fall seem like distant memories lived in bodies harnessing more energy and minds percolating more matter. Now is like the calm just before a storm, lethargically narrated, expansive, magnetic. Our bodies move rhythmically with the wind like storm—approaching trees, full of life but patiently contained. Perhaps that speaks to the power of present or the power of seasonality, either way, the work feels in tune and the year-end break seems both necessary and expected.

The winter fields sit like square green patches on a rolling hill quilt of lifeless, brown pathways, four acres of the living and the dead symbiotically serving. The verdant sections of oats, rye, peas, and clover will hold the soil overwinter, energizing it upon our spring return with gifts of nitrogen, organic matter, and microbial activity. Like our bodies and minds, the soil needs a season of rest, void of scurrying feet, tractor tires, hoe disturbance, and the fast-paced flow of production. The time apart, the separation of farmer and field, of soil and machine, of cash and harvest, is healing and a vital piece to a sustainable food economy.

This piece originally appeared in Chris Jackson’s November 2013 newsletter. You can find his farm here.

About Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson and his wife Jenny run a family centered sustainable farm in Pine Mountain, Georgia. They personify the agrarian life. Chis considers Wendell Berry to be one of his greatest intellectual influences. More from Chris Jackson

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