Almanac of the Wheel of Life: The Farm at Mid-Winter

What does it mean to be a steward of life? It is an unspoken question threaded through my days. Each winter we carry more lives through to the hope of spring. It is the nature of a farm and a family grow, a response to a holy invitation. In our stewardship, we learn to leverage the outward death of winter to build the inner life. Roots and bones. Back to the earth in the compost of the old year, manure and trampled hay, sawdust and wood shavings, in cover crops and dormant roots, even the bones of the dead under the heap or in the earth. Those failures of the past year kindle study and deeper investigations into the principles of agriculture and life. The wheel of life rolls away as a witness to the nature of God, always redeeming death and turning it into the living.

The oblique light comes with a more subtle potency not felt in the haste of summer, illuminating details made bare by the dearth and otherwise overlooked. It is not all romance of slanting light. There is the mud and the death and sickness. There are the broken systems and the unfinished jobs, and the detritus of unclean life scattered everywhere. The butcher sighed and smiled and cried “Ahh, life!” and thanked God as he cut the throat of the lamb. It seems that to live is to accept and know death, and to die is to understand and accept life. It is a mystery that I don’t claim to understand.

“For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation through your prayer and the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope that in nothing shall I be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always so now also, Christ shall be Magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21

12 thoughts on “Almanac of the Wheel of Life: The Farm at Mid-Winter

  1. Thanks Jack. Beautiful words and images! They warm my spirit on this winter day. Give my best to Amy and the kiddos! Jason

  2. Hi Jack,
    Your words are beautiful, and I love your storytelling photos. Looks like you have a new batch of cute pups. Love to you all!

    1. Thank you, Brynn. The pups were born on December 9th. Unfortunately Annie, the mother, got hit by a car a few weeks ago and we had to put her down. But at least we get to keep a female from her litter as a replacement. Thanks again for checking in, it means a lot.

  3. Only the Creator understands the full mystery of death and life. But through beautiful meditations like yours we can at least glimpse the truth that they are two sides of the same coin, and that we cannot have one without the other. Thank you, Jack.

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