29. March 2014 · Comments Off on BEHOLD THE IDES OF MARCH · Categories: Farm Thoughts

The soothsayer’s warning for Julius Ceaser turned out to be about a specific peril, but I wonder if his “beware” might be considered more generally.

The ides are just a week before the vernal equinox (was this true in Roman days?). Diane’s Grandmother used to blame volatile weather on this moment in our annual revolution around the sun.

Jim finds the ides equally turbulent in his emotional and work life. A weather book he read a while back supports the notion that at our latitude, the arctic and the equatorial forces are fighting for control as our earth comes about in its revolution so that it’s northern pole begins its path into the light.

We used to call it the time of twirling, but as our minds and bodies build memory of the changes of the annual cycle for farmers we recognize what is happening. There is a rhythm of rest and energy that ebbs and flows with the intensity and duration of light and warmth.

As the light fades in October, and the plants shut down their growth, we too slow in our movements, enjoying an extra half hour in bed, allowing ourselves to stop our efforts in the darkening cold of the afternoon.

The long list of winter “catch up” chores is ticked off very slowly as the days begin to lengthen in February. Guilt is the first motivator, as we wonder if age is catching up with us, and we will never summon the energy of spring days past. By June we will be a well oiled machine, but now lethargy and creativity whipsaw us with the undulating highs and lows, warm fronts and cold fronts.

Along comes a warm week in March and the tendons begin to loosen. We recognize that a rare opportunity could be lost. Diane, Chief Aesthetics Officer asks if Jim has sharpened the mower blades yet. Jim, the Chief Utility Officer, asks if Diane can find a moment from mowing to set out the Walla Walla starts in the bed Jim has shaped in the mud. He has waited as long as he can for the drying sun, but the forecast is for the return of the seemingly incessant rain, and we can wait no longer.

And it comes, and our souls are plunged back into the darkness. The dog has contracted giardia, our favorite cat has a bladder infection, refusing to yield to antibiotics. Diane calls last year’s subscribers, a dear and generous member drowns in our produce as professional pressures steal time and energy.

Putin’s artillery masses on the Ukrainian border, the middle class still doesn’t feel the recovery coming, Diane returns to her spring time refrain that subscriptions will never come.

Will summer ever come? Will we ever feel young again? Is history just a larger light/dark revolutionary cycle? Behold the ides of March!

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