February Thaw

One thing I’ve never done before is go outside in February without a winter coat.  On purpose.  Because it was too warm to wear a coat.  Yet that is what’s been happening the last few days. 

On one hand, I’m concerned – plants and animals are doing things that it’s way too early in the year to do. The cold weather will return, the buds will freeze and there will be no fruit.  Babies will come too early and may not survive when the temperatures drop below freezing again.

On the other hand, it’s absolutely glorious to be outside.  It’s given me the opportunity to get a jump start on cleaning up the farm, catching up on things that couldn’t be done in the fall while I was still working, readying the ground for planting, pruning raspberries, removing burrs and thistles and generally doing things that weren’t done on the farm for a few years.

I found these sweet bib overalls at the thrift store

Check out the size of my brush pile!

For the last thirty odd years I spent the majority of my day at a desk, working with documents and computers and people, lots of really good people.  For the most part, I’ve enjoyed this work and there was always a twinge of sadness when I left one job for another. 

It’s not logical, but I find myself preferring this new life of manual labor, feeling the ache in my legs and back, arms limp and noodley from shoveling dirt or forking manure or moving heavy objects.  At the end of the day, what I’ve accomplished is clearly visible, and I’m learning, ever so slowly, to look at what I’ve done with satisfaction instead of looking with dismay at all that remains to be done.

Each morning I step outside, sometimes into snow or rain, but often into a brilliant sunrise, the promise of a new day.  For the most part, I get to decide how I spend it, which was probably true when I was working, but it never felt like it.  As I’ve mentioned before, life after retirement hasn’t looked exactly the way I thought it would, but I’m experiencing rest and peace and the joy of being granted another new day, regardless of the weather.

The exhilaration of being outside in February without a coat will likely be quashed when the next snowstorm hits, but for now I will be breathing it all in, connecting with how grateful I am to be living this life right now.