If you were to visit North Dakota in the summer, you’d fall in love. It is green, the crops are growing, the weather is favorable. There are prairies as far as the eye can see, spectacular sunsets, gorgeous lakes and in some parts of the state beautiful rocky bluffs and blooming sunflowers. On a particularly calm day, you’d think it is paradise.
Winter, on the other hand, is another story. It is as if everything has disappeared, the leaves, the plants, our ground is usually covered in a thick sheet of white snow. The lack of green and growth evokes a different kind of feeling. It’s cold, icy, but on the occasional sunny day the snow glistens. North Dakota in the winter is gorgeous too. In its’ own way.
There is something about when spring rolls around that signals a new beginning. The leaves begin to grow, flowers bloom, and the grass slowly starts becoming green. At the beginning of a new growing season, you can almost feel the tension in the air as we all patiently wait for spring. It is especially palatable on the farm. We are all waiting for that sigh of relief when the tractors begin to roll and the seeds go into the ground.
A new beginning brings so much excitement. A new year with new potential. Each seed we put into the ground has a whole new year ahead of it. I wish I could put into words the waves of emotions I watch go through my husband every year as our growing season progresses. Some weeks it is pride and excitement, some weeks it is relief and accomplishment, some weeks it is gut wrenching pain, and most weeks there is a whole lot of praying.
Every growing season is something new, something different. At any given time, we face a different set of challenges or experience a different favorable condition. Some years it is too dry, some years it rains too much. Some years bring not enough sun, some years bring devastating hail. Some years we lose crops to pests or disease, some years we get lucky and they never come. You never know what you’re going to get.
New beginnings for us can bring so much joy or so much pain in such a small window of time. But it’s all out of our control.
We are constantly watching the weather. We are constantly driving around looking at fields. We are constantly digging up seeds before they come out of the ground or pulling up plants to see how they are progressing. To quote a Jack Johnson song, we are truly “sitting, waiting, wishing” except there’s not a whole bunch of sitting… More like working.
For me, I love all the excitement. I love the prospect of a new beginning. And most of all, I love spending time with my husband while he does what he loves.
Honestly, there’s just something about getting into the wide open and tromping around in a field that rejuvenates the soul… It reminds me why we live here and why we live this life called farming.