Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who Cooks for You?

Out along the edge of the moon-feathered woods, the Barred Owls sound their call: "Who cooks for YOU? Who cooks for YOU? Who cooks for YOU-all?"

Tonight, one of our farmhands has taken on the task, stepping gracefully into the gap on today's chore list. The Piper and I worked off the farm today and had resigned ourselves to bacon and eggs when we first noted no one had signed up for supper. Instead, I arrived home from a day of hospital chaplaincy and she arrived home from a day of social work to find...a three-course dinner kept warm on the stove. There are pork chops. There are apples simmered with raisins, spices, and nuts. There are buttery rosemary mashed potatoes. He shares the news of his day on the land: thirteen eggs collected, snowpeas and lettuce nearly sprouting in the hoop house, snowbanks melting away, healthy livestock and a well-exercised dog.

We aren't fools enough to count on good news, nor do we count on such feasts. The food was unexpected and tasted sweeter for the surprise. Weather changes, priorities change, people change, relationships require maintenance and even promises require occasional renegotiation. Besides all that, it's early Spring. Our muscles are twitchy and our brains are itchy. You just can't count on much, this time of year, except melting snow and a whole lot of mud.

So, we try to pry open the tight fists of Winter. We try to open up a bit, stretch our bodies and our minds and our spirits. We flex the muscles of gratitude and remind ourselves to meet each day on its own terms, with whatever grace and goodness we can muster. Sometimes, the firewood's all wet and we slip on the ice. Some days, all we can see is the mud. And some days, we walk wearily in and find a warm supper waiting, a farmstead well-tended, and owls calling at the edge of the woods, questioning each other sweetly under the great, round moon.