Our Rural Roots

Resolve To Beat Seasonal Unrest

(Pamela Smith)

Winter days are mostly cold and gray. It is, after all, January in northern Illinois. Even though the shortest day of the season is behind us, I still feel like we aren't gaining enough minutes of daylight to balance the amount of "stuff" clogging the calendar.

The time we do have at home passes with puzzles and board games. Closets and cupboards have been organized. Crafts are nearing completion. The frustration index is offset by anticipation of spring, when I will spend entire days outside in my gardens.

Ah, spring on the prairie. In my dreams, the gardens are always in bloom. Unfortunately, reality often trades snow and cold for gale-force winds. How dare Mother Nature convert my tulips to ice sculptures and then tatters? And, why does she not check in with farmers to see when rains are convenient?

On those muddled days, I pray for a break in the uncertainty of spring and wish for summer.

Summer -- when air doesn't move. Stifled by humidity and a heat that turns sidewalks into ovens, we fear drought, curse floods and frantically bale hay on the hottest day because a storm is building in the west. My gardens wither in the baking sun as I search for a hint of fall, a stray leaf, a ripening pumpkin ... must I go on?

Why am I beset with seasons of discontent? Instead of appreciating the moments, I'm wishing for the ones yet to come.

Working in the present has always been a challenge for me. My brain is habitually on a fast track, making plans, dreaming dreams, rarely focusing on the people and events of the day. So, for this new year, I resolve to live the day at hand. Maybe then, each season will be a nice surprise.

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-- Katie Pratt writes, tweets and farms from north-central Illinois, a land of four seasons. Find her blog at theillinoisfarmgirl.com, and follow her on Twitter @KatiePratt4

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