If January has become my month for hibernating, then February is the month when my cocoon becomes a little too tight. The month when Spring is the yet-not-yet, when winter holds on with it’s cold and clingy fist, when it’s too soon and all over simultaneously. The month when when I crave BIG change just in order to make SOMETHING come alive, yet am still groggy from my self-imposed long winters nap.
This is our 4th February at Preservation Acres, and for the first time I am beginning to understand the rhythm of life here- both internally and externally,- a rhythm tied to both the land and to the liturgical year. Which, in my geographical location, means that in February I often get a double dose of introspection and angst. You see, Lent generally shows up just as the winter cocoon becomes too much, and I want to burst free into new life, new ideas, new projects.
But bursting forth isn’t really Lent’s jam, just as planting tomatoes and zinnia’s isn’t really Februarys. That sort of exuberance and new life-ness is for Eastertide.
No, Lent is for introspection. For repentance. For remembering the wilderness of the soul, for pondering a life without hope.
It is a season for for simplicity. For waiting. For preparing. For prayer. For giving.
It isn’t a 40-day diet, or exercise plan, or a chance to become more organized or organic (at last!)
Instead, it is a chance to peel away the layers of distraction that keep us removed from the beautimess that is living at the intersection of holiness and humanity. The place where love is and does.
Lent is the place where we come face to face the whole dust-to-dust business, and on the farm, February is the place where we remember how little our will in the in-between matters.
On the farm, in February, it seems that we are more at the mercy of Mother Nature and Father Time than at any other part of the year.
It may rain. It may snow. It may freeze.
The sun may shine.
The bulbs might break free from the earth too soon, the levy may wash out, the earth may remain hard, the mud might be hip deep.
We may run out of fire wood, we might throw open the windows and crank up the fans.
February is full of false starts and delayed plans.
February is happy to show you your place in the great scheme of things.
Which is why, as soon as the hearts and ribbons of Valentine’s Day are packed away, I begin to haunt the garden stores for succulents.
Desperate for some sign of life dependable.
Desperate for manageable.
Hungry for easy.
Over the past few years these funny rubber plants have become my Lenten icons. A way to bridge the yet-not-yet gap between Epiphany and Easter. Little burst of green scattered throughout the house, their steady and low-drama existence reminders that out of patience and contentment come good things.
Especially if I will be present to the wisdom in the waiting.
If I can let my plans and my timing be laid low, setting aside the distractions of what could be, and gratefully cultivating what is instead.
This is my hope for Lent, the lessons the land is showing me, my prayer.