(please read the whiny post first, and then watch the video. It will make you smile, even if it’s currently snowing outside your window. I promise.)
We all know the old saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. Well. I’m beginning to think it’s just something we say to ourselves in early March to get through what is certainly the most dismal month of the year. Perhaps it’s never been true for Maine. Or perhaps every year we just survive it and then block it out. A few weeks ago I thought we were entering mud season, a sloppy, inevitable time of year that generally gives way to flowers, robins and an improved mental outlook on the world. Sadly, it proved a messy 2 day tease and now the “driveway” is a frozen mud puddle that crunches slightly as you walk across. The daffodils and lilies that poked up during said tease have not grown a fraction of an inch in the past 2 weeks and are likely just as irritated as I am about the whole thing. Earlier in March I was able to keep hope alive with a pile of bright and cheery seed catalogs, and by choosing some exciting new chicks to replace the 7 slaughtered by a pair of foxes in January. Now the fun is over. I’ve chosen my seeds for the year, ordered the chicks, sketched out a garden plan. And now it’s snowing, again, with 6-10 inches expected.
I’m sick of last fall’s carrots, no matter how sweet they still are. I’m sick of creamy mashed potatoes and frozen kale, heck I’m even sick of home-canned tomatoes. The 1/4 pig we ordered is gone but I was sick of pork chops anyway. I don’t feel like knitting anymore and even sitting by the woodstove has lost its charm.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve got it good, but that doesn’t change how miserable this time of year can make you feel. I also know I’m not the only one, which makes me feel slightly better about being such a complainer. At the call center at Johnny’s Selected Seeds where I’m spending my days ’til May, nearly every Northeastern or Midwestern customer I talk to has the same discouraged tone in their voice that I’m trying to hide as I take their order or answer a question. They usually ask about the weather in Maine, I usually tell them that it’s dismal, and they follow with how much snow they’ve still got on the ground. Then we sigh and say something like “Well, Spring has to come soon, I guess.”
Since Nature seems to have nothing positive to offer me (and yes I know that’s surely not true, but nevertheless it’s how I feel), I find myself in the strange situation of turning to the internet for hope.
I’ve been corresponding periodically with a woman from Dublin named Ella McSweeney, a woman who I recently told someone I would like to think of as the Irish Anne, if the American Anne were more accomplished. Two days ago she sent along a little video she’d just shot of a family farmer letting his herd of dairy cows out onto the fresh spring pasture after 20 weeks indoors eating hay. “Today is the best day in any dairy farmer’s life”, he says in his charming accent, “when the cows go out to grass.”
The cows dash down the lane and into the pasture, literally kicking their heels with pleasure, in just the sort of joyous jig I imagine I’ll be doing when this latest snow melts and my case of the doldrums finally lifts.
I could provide all sorts of commentary on grassfed cows and raw dairy, and what a shame it is that most cows these days won’t get the same experience, but I think I’ll just leave you with the video in all it’s cheery, hopeful simplicity.
Here’s hoping Spring is just around the corner.