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December 4, 2004
A Case of the Drearies
Ben motors and Nate is General Washington crossing the Delaware in our flooded field
We're into our tenth day of rain, with another ten or so predicted. This tends to cause a serious case of the drearies on our farm--a serious malady complete with mildew in our hair, webs between our toes and hibernation in our hearts. We leave the farm to go to work in the dark with the rain blowing in our faces, and return home in the dark, with the rain still blowing in our faces. I try to recall the 8 weeks without rain this past summer and I think I must be delusional.
Along with the local rivers and streams continually overflowing their banks, including a new lake in our lower field (see above), we have this little problem of our barn, located strategically at the bottom of a hillside, also overflowing its carefully engineered drainage system. Four of our twelve stalls have had standing water for the past 10 days now, so the Haflingers are bunking in the remainder, happy to be out of the wet, but insulted at such a prolonged confinement as there is no place to go outside without mud and mire. Regular flakes of hay seem to bribe them into complacency. Things can't be too bad when the best part of the day involves eating...
Ah, but it takes it's toll on our psyches. So much wet cold dankness without reprieve can be hard on man and beast. We are all waiting, waiting, wishing for something different, wanting relief. The Haflingers wait for their freedom from confinement and desire the sun on their backs once again, but settle for the memory of the sun and pastures as it is tossed in the form of flakes of dried field grass under their noses. I imagine they breathe deeply into that hay and can re-experience those warm lazy days in the pasture with every mouthful.
What are we waiting for? I know I feel discontent, antsy and eager for a respite from this. No one tosses a flake of hay to me to keep me from complaining, though it just might work if it was served with hot chocolate.
Actually, the waiting, the anticipation is for something beyond the temporary satisfaction of hunger or thirst, beyond the diversion needed when boredom sets in. It is a far deeper need, and a greater want and desire. Our longing for light in our deepest darkest times can urge us forward, to prepare us for what comes next.
And it will come from the most unlikely source. It will come from a barn, bedded in hay, tucked in a manger, from the humblest of beginnings.
In our dreariest of moments, we must wait and prepare. The sun will return, surround us, warm us, and we will be ready. In the mean time, I'll crawl into the manger and tuck myself in alongside and breathe deeply of the hay, knowing the promise of summer held within.