Earthworms’ Castings: The Restful Time

Restful Winter Yardscape

By Jean Ponzi

 I hear it often this time of year – “I cannot WAIT for spring!” – but this isn’t my refrain.

A Chicago friend lamented it recently, adding “If I could only garden all year, every day ….” OK, it’s a lot colder, longer, up where she lives, but she also hires a landscaping service. Guys show up to cut her grass so she can play with her petunias.

I’ll be ready for spring sometime in March, when it gets here – and ready to resume mowing and weed-whacking duties when I have to – but for now I savor dormancy, as long as I can.

Winter truly rests my soul.

Ice and the rare treat of St. Louis snow sloooooow down the daily routines. You must take it easier getting anywhere. Haste can have hazardous consequences. Patience and a measured pace come into play if you want them or not. I pay attention to how this feels and try to recreate this speed in seasons less encumbered.

If you dress for this weather, which I do, it takes longer every day to load those clothing layers on. I waddle around swaddled in my cocoons. Put gloves on, take gloves off. Find gloves, keep gloves together. Change at the door from boots back to shoes, or better yet the boiled wool clogs my feet prefer as cozy slippers. And when else in this climate can we enjoy every day wearing of fleece?

Free from pressing tasks outdoors, except for brisk forays with shovel or broom, there’s so much less that I need to attend to. And the pull to get-up-and-get-lively relaxes, gives me permission to go inside, snuggle up, sleep longer, and just plain re-charge.

I push myself to WALK. Anytime sidewalks and roads are clear, I do whatever it takes to get outdoors and get my steps in. The mere act of walking, standing up tall and moving forward, works a daily miracle on my sludge mind, my bogged-down feelings. Walking indoors works this magic too, but being outside, under the sky, with trees, is my best medicine.

One of my great teachers, who encouraged a love of peace and beauty, spoke of winter as a time to reflect and heal. She taught me how all things are related, within and without, human beings and nature, all connected in the web of life. And how every season has its rhythm, gives its gifts if you’re open to receive and exchange. How the grip of winter is an offering too.

When the waters of emotion grow still with cold, you can clearly see their patterns within you. Look deep, with a calm, compassionate eye. See from your heart. When you understand a pattern this way, you can change it as you need to, with loving kindness.

So I watch and contemplate. Bundle into woolies, down and fleece. Keep the thermostat low to conserve those fossil fuels. Sleep early to invite inspiring dreams. I reflect on my patterns and plan some changes.

I know that seeds sprout stronger after periods of cold. I trust the coming up-cycle of marvelous spring to impel my new intentions to flower.

When my good new growth gets long enough to mow, I’ll be ready to sweat and get moving.

Jean Ponzi hosts green-themed conversations for her podcast Earthworms, from KDHX St. Louis Independent Media. Listen up at www.kdhx.org.