I will begin with a cautionary word. We have all gone through difficult and trying times and continue to suffer losses of every kind. As December approaches, it feels like the beginning of a dark Covid winter. Every morning, I have been working hard to remember my farmer’s perspective: an outlook that sees these coming winter months as a time for healing and introspection.
As I drove back and forth from Boston the day before Thanksgiving to deliver your food alongside our Farmers To You team – many miles and hours granted me time to reflect on all that we have lost. Sitting in the van, I also introvertedly thought about all that has reawakened within me. Without this upcoming dark winter, there would be no rejuvenating spring.
One of the darkest parts of these upcoming winter months is the time we turn inward similar to the trees turning within to gather the energy needed for springtime growth. The shorter days and longer nights are what nature requires. It is a time to integrate all our learning and growth for the year. It can be a difficult task. But know you are not alone as you do so. I invite you to turn inward and take stock of all that we are learning, we are becoming, and all of the wisdom we have hopefully received this year. For me, this is a painful affair. I acknowledge that most of you will have a similar experience. Personally, the most helpful lessons are ones triggered by pain and loss. While I would rather not dwell on these, I know it gives me courage considering the amount of growth this year has brought.
A small example of this is my experience of being alone this year on Thanksgiving. As a family, we decided it would be best if we did not get together. We wanted to be safe. And I had gotten home late from delivering food in Boston; my alone time that day allowed me to consider what I treasure about the holidays, family, and food. When stripped away, I could see the core that I want to keep in my life and saw all the extraneous stuff that has crept into our gatherings. The core importance for me is cooking for others, gathering with those I love, and taking the time out of our busy lives to mark a time when the literal fruits of our labors are fully appreciated. On top of all this, I realized that more is not always better.
These past nine months continue to force me to reprioritize how I spend my time. By limiting my usual distractions, it has brought much more focus into my life. The needs and goals in my life have become clear: my friends and my family close by, being more deliberate about how I support my community, being increasingly more conscious about the consequences of my actions – how I source my food, the items I choose to buy and bring into my life and my home, above all my impact on the planet and community. The largest gift for me this year has jarred me awake to become aware of how much my life has been automatic, doing what I do just because it is what I was taught or through plain habit and social programming.
I invite you to turn inward with me this season and take stock of the many gifts we have been given, even the bitter and painful along with the sweet. Let us work towards making this a better community to live in, a more healthy one, a more just one, a more conscious one, and above all, a more loving and kind one. We must remember that abundance will always come in the spring, especially if we do our deep work during the winter season. Like the seeds we sow, we all need the cold and dark to bloom.