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Control vs. Submission In the Work Seasons


Its been a few weeks since I’ve written anything here.

During those weeks we’ve really been able to slow down.

Actually, “slow down” is not quite the right phrase. We still have a farm and three children. We are about as busy as other normal people.

But what does change in the winter is the pressure and control.

All summer we basically submit to the process that we take part in as farmers. The irresistible commands that stream down from the sun set everything in motion and we just try to play our part. We, like the plants, just try to keep up. There is so much moving and growing and changing going on during the summer that we don’t even really fantasize about getting “it” all done. You just participate with all your might.

You put aside your perfect little plan for how things should go and how much you want to do and you just submit to what comes. Sometimes what comes is too much, in which case you try not to feel ashamed or beat yourself up. Sometimes what comes is exhilarating and you welcome it.

But by the end, it's always a little more than you would have asked for.

But then, just when you couldn’t handle more, winter arrives.

In winter it all inverts. In winter, the work changes mainly to the type of work you can pick up and put down whenever you need to. Like office work or a building project. These things can be scheduled in whatever sequence you prefer and on whatever day makes the most sense. It doesn’t matter what the weather is--spreadsheets don’t change when it's raining. The paperwork won’t get root-bound or overripe if you put it off for another week. There’s a sense of control and the relentless pressure to keep up with living and growing things fades away.

At first this control is a little intoxicating. I’m always tempted to make elaborate daily schedules and perfectly organize my time. Because, well, I can. It always eventually calms down into something realistic after the first week or so, but it still feels like a different mode.

And after submitting all summer to the relentlessly progressing growth it feels liberating and luxurious to be able to pick items off the to do list willy-nilly like I’ve got all the time in the world!


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