The Season of Winter

One of the things I love best about Wisconsin weather is how it compares to the cycle of life. Many of us live in the mindset of summer. We want to be warm and happy all the time, but fall tells us that we are not gods. Nothing lasts forever. As the seasons shift, winter reminds us of death. Many Wisconsinites hide indoors or try to escape to warmer climates. But those who accept winter’s place in the year reap the reward of a miraculous spring and the hope of rebirth. If it were always summer, we could not fully appreciate the beauty of the first light-green leaves, opening flower buds, and warm raindrops.

Although March is here, it’s hard to believe that this winter might ever end. Temperatures this season were bitterly and continually cold in Madison, making it the coldest winter in 35 years and the 11th coldest winter on record. The snow has stayed on the ground since December (we’ve had snow for almost 100 days now). The Great Lakes were 91 percent covered in ice this year (according to the NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory), compared to the past four winters when they were around 40 percent or less covered. I can only imagine that spring will be extra beautiful this year after a harsh winter.

We’ve had several days now this month that got into the 40s. With warming temperatures and sunnier days, I can dream only about gardening. I’m anxious to bring our garden back to life and eat fresh vegetables again. Given the attendance at the Garden Expo in February, I’m sure I’m not alone. I have been reading garden books (after seeing illustrated vegetation, be careful for the initial shock when you look out the window at the snow…) and planning our vegetable garden beds. I’ll have a lot to do this spring: finish building our raised garden beds, order compost to fill them, and get the early spring plants going as soon as we can. I also want to start some new strawberries, do some pruning, and add some native shrubs along the lot line. It will be a busy spring.

And I do hope to blog about all our permaculture adventures… if I get the chance. As I stay home with two preschool-aged kids, one that gets up at 5 am and the other that stopped napping last September, finding time to focus on blogging has been difficult. Yet, here I am, in a stage of life where I am a parent. When I feel frustrated about wanting to get a blog posted, I remind myself to enjoy the present moment, to embrace parenting my children. Like winter, it is part of the circle of life. Even if I don’t have much time to blog this year, I know that someday I’ll miss my children’s playful days and will have more time to blog. Life continually changes… bring on spring.

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