It makes no sense whatsoever to make looking forward to spring my strategy for getting through the winter that’s finally come. That means three months at least, likely more, before the warm weather arrives, the snow melts, and I can start cultivating and planting. That’s not the spirit that will find Hope Ness. That’s the same old spirit that has missed it time and time again, in the sense of not being fully present and alive in its moment, however long that may be.
I’ve been making that same mistake for a long time. It’s like, who I am, the one who’s always unhappy and discontent, and always looking forward to a time in the not-so-distant future when things will be better. They never are, of course.
Now there are some moments that are easy enough to get into. They’re not hard to imagine. Most of us have been there, done those; but when “the thrill is gone” what are you left with?
Hope Ness is not a cheap thrill that leaves you empty. It is an ever-present, pervasive joy that comes up through the ground and the trees, the wild and tended flowers and herbs, wanders through the woods in and with all sorts of creatures large and small, soars and flies with the birds, and helps fill the dark, clear night sky with such a torrent of stars you might never imagine if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes.
I believe it not because I have experienced the abundance of that joy myself, I’m sad to say, but because I have seen the truth of it in the spirit of others – two women, as a matter of fact, one who was born and raised and lived her entire, long life in Hope Ness, and the other, who came to Hope Ness about the same time I did. But she found it right away.
Even as she approached it that day, she felt its energy drawing her, she told me more than once. I will always remember that moment years later when we were on our way to spend some much-needed time up at “the farm” and I turned to look at her as she sang out her joy at the approaching prospect of Hope Ness: She was a vision. I had never seen anyone more beautiful, carefree and happy, and suddenly young again.
Winter can be hard here. But I must find a way to find Hope Ness even now, so I can be truly present, alive and as healthy as possible; not just for my own sake, but for the sake of those who need me to be the best I can be for them. And of course I want to be able to help them find Hope Ness when that moment comes.
So I will watch over this old farm house and land as best I can, moment by moment, day by day. I will plug in my tractor, snow-blow the long driveway and focus on doing a good and careful job. I will make my bread, and do my dishes, and enjoy Aussie-dog’s company as long as he’s here. I will water the plants that have been left in my care.
I will count my blessings – and they are many – and say a prayer every morning.