Responding to recent suggestions by people in my life that I try to be more social, I arranged to spend the morning yesterday helping out on a farm in temporary need of a few extra hands. It’s a place my children are connected to, and I like farms, and I like being outside, so I went with them.

It was a spectacular spring morning. A little on the cold side, but the sun was bright and the birds were busy, and it was good to have new things to do. The majority of my time was spent digging up stinging nettles in a field, alone. Perhaps it wasn’t the most successful of my attempts to be around other people, but I like to imagine some spiritual meaning to the hours I pass in silence. I suspect I would have made a killer mystic in some other time and place.

Also wonderful–lambs! Lots, including two born while we were digging up nettles and mulching vegetable beds. If there’s a better definition of joy than watching very young lambs running and jumping about in a field, I’m not sure what it is. Sheep have such distinctive voices. It’s a bit like being in the midst of a very talkative party to listen to them bleating back and forth.

As if all that wasn’t good enough, we came home with a bag of fresh shiitake mushrooms. With one or two exceptions, I remember nothing of importance about any paycheck I’ve ever received, but I remember every gift of food I’ve been given in exchange for my time. Apples, potatoes, vegetables, jams, mushrooms–I’m incredibly grateful for all of them.

Today it’s gray and cold again, and our only visitor is a lone turkey who stalks along the fringes of the trees. I’ve been taking a break from drafting, working on revising a backlog of stories instead. At the moment I’m doing neither. It’s time to warm my fingers and go work knitting with the kids. I’m halfway through a scarf, and I firmly believe that once I finish it, the warm weather will arrive to stay.