Changing seasons. I winterized the chicken coop this past weekend. I did it just in time because this morning I woke to frozen bird baths and 25 degrees. My breath was frosty and the air burned my lungs as I inhaled, standing at the bus stop with my daughter. It’s cold. Even poor Sara didn’t want to leave the house without her coat for her morning outing.
I don’t care for the chores that come with winter weather. I don’t like filling the chicken waterers, scooping up frozen poop, I dont care for shoveling snow, ice that makes me slip and feeling like I cannot warm up no matter how many layers that I seem to dress in.
But I do like one thing. I enjoy the quietness of the season ahead.
I’ve only lived on Cape Cod where there are four season for the later half of my life, but I’ve come to realize that with each season there comes a purpose- at least for me, that is how I see it. The gardens where I spent most of my days and hours are now almost sleeping. Except for raking leaves and tidying up the garden plots, there are no chores.
The chickens snuggle in the coop. It is winterized. I added a deep layer of kiln-dried pine shavings filling the floor. The coop’s windows are clean. As a result, this allows abundant morning sunshine to flood and warm the coop. The spiders’ cobwebs are vacuumed and finally the heated waterer is on. I find myself bringing warming and fattening treats out to the girls. Warm oatmeal, cracked corn, stale pieces of bread–anything that will sit in their bellies warming them as blustery Old Man Winter and darkness meet. It is dark here at 4 pm.
My children are older now. One is at college and the other is about to get her learner’s permit. Soon, she too will be driving off on adventures and my days as a Mom taxi are going to be over. Their seasons are changing too. Dont’ get me wrong, they still need me, just not for the everyday things. I admit, it is strange. It’s hard for me, a struggle to want to always be there and help and do things for them. Alas, they need to spread their own wings and fly. It is their time to shine and bloom. Its been a joy to watch.
So for now, I find myself with more time here in the winter season to create. It’s when I write, dream and imagine. I like to see it as a time to reflect inward. The holidays are upon us. They are bittersweet the older I get. Things change. Families and friendships evolve. New ones are added and goodbyes are said to some we have known our entire lives. I can understand why people have a hard time. Holidays are tender spots in our hearts, when windows of vulnerability are open. Holidays are like treasure boxes where we collect memories, smiles, feelings, sometimes replaying them in our minds.
For now, it seems a focus inward awaits during this changing season. Let us think, examine and analyze just what we want. What is in our future? Where we have been and what we are thankful for? I mean really, thankful for, right down to the little things. Somehow, the chickens have always known this. They are grateful little things, even for the heel on a loaf of bread. Pondering that now, as I make some toast and pour a cup of coffee. The little things are sometimes the biggest things that matter. Cheers to warm hearts and abundant thankfulness this holiday season.