I’m taking a blogging break this week, and posting some content from the archives.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I’ve always been fascinated with the round of seasons. Growing up on a small farm in Southeastern Ohio, I spent as much time as possible outdoors, learning to love each season in its turn.
In Spring, I couldn’t wait to get outside to climb trees and wiggle my bare toes in the fresh, green grass. One of our favorite excursions was to the Big Cave (a large overhang really, not a true cavern). If we timed it right, we’d get to see the spring wildflowers–bluets, spring beauties, Dutchman’s breeches, jack-in-the-pulpits, solomon’s seal, trilliums, and white and yellow violets. I’d fling off my shoes and splash in the stream that ran from the mouth of the cave down to a little creek. I usually wouldn’t get too far, though, busy as I was with salamander and crayfish catching.
In Summer, I lived for firefly-catching in the back yard, wild blackberry picking, and honeysuckle tasting. There’d be playing outside all day, then evenings sitting on the back patio, snapping beans and telling stories to pass the time. Sometimes, we had homemade ice cream, my dad cranking the old-timey maker with the rock salt–if we were lucky. Since it was the time of year our large contingent of farm cats had their kittens, I’d spend hours searching the hay loft. Every time I reached my arm between scratchy bales of straw, I’d hold my breath until I finally came up with a little ball of fluff.
Fall meant lots of leaves. We had two hundred-plus-year-old maples in our front yard, with a large wood-and-rope swing hanging from one. We’d rake and rake piles, just for play. A pile to make into a huge bird’s nest. A pile to place strategically where the swing went up the highest … and where we could sail off, land, and emerge wild, hair full of twigs and leaf bits. I also loved collecting leaves, pressing them in books, where they’d greet me months, or even years later, long after I’d forgotten them. Bonfires, cider-making, hay rides, and Halloween parties were a big part of autumn on the farm as well, especially as my sister and I got older. We were always inviting some club or group over for a fall soiree.
Winter was always a quieter time on the farm, waking up to Dad shoveling the ashes out of the wood stove from the previous night’s fire, shivering out in the dark to break ice in the animals’ water dishes, hanging wet and muddy mittens to dry near the stove. (For a number of years, we had no central heating, just the Vermont Castings stove near the kitchen and a big old propane heater in the family room.) The highlight of winter depended on the weather. We just couldn’t wait until the snow was deep enough to weigh down the tall, heavy pasture grass behind the barn. Then, off we’d head, my sister and I, bundled from head to toe, ready for an afternoon of sledding. We’d whiz down hills, narrowly missing the veritable minefield of sinkholes nestled at the bottom of the best hills (due to underground springs), and then head home, numb and wet, frantic for hot cocoa.
Though I haven’t called my parents’ farm home for more than 15 years, I still visit frequently, now with my three young kids and husband.
And we still savor the seasons in our own way in the suburban neighborhood we live in. We’re lucky to have a secluded backyard, with a creek behind it and woods. We can pretend we’re a bit farther from civilization than we actually are. We spend as much time as possible outside, gardening, taking photos, playing, and enjoying nature. It’s our intention to enjoy the little things fully, celebrating the beauty of the seasons and the bounty of God’s creation.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV