I was delighted, about a month ago, when we were still in the midst of deepest winter, to watch nearly 50 birds alight on the crabapple tree in our yard. Feasting en masse, in the bleakest, most frozen time of year. The crabapples appear unappetizing to my eye, shriveled, leathery, brown. But the birds--robins, cardinals, chickadees (I think!)--could not have been more joyful. Flocks have visited a number of times since, and the tree is now mostly bare. Birds must have some kind of faith, to travel like they do, counting on finding frozen fruits along the way that can sustain them as they migrate home.
We have happily been feasting on our own frozen fruit, but from our chest freezer, rather than off the tree. Bags of peaches, from our harvest in September, when we spent hours cutting them into slices and stacking trays in the freezer. And the raspberries. (I feel like I don't know how I lived before I began eating raspberries every day . . . like we wonder how we lived before the internet.) And then there are the frozen jars of tomato sauce and eggplant curry. We go "basement shopping" once a week, digging out these savories and sweets from the deeps.
Warming up a batch of curry this week, I learned about and was much moved by a fundraising campaign by New England Public Radio, which is matching membership pledges with donations to the Western Mass Food Bank and FoodShare of Hartford. Each pledge means a contribution of 20 meals for a family. Please consider contributing here...
I am so grateful for our chest full of frozen fruits, and especially that I don't have to cook every meal from scratch when my energy is low. And I wonder: How on earth do I have the time to make all this food in the summer, at the height of the growing season, when I feel like I can barely keep up with basic cooking and cleaning in these months and months of winter?
And then we switch the clocks, and I remember: more light, and I emerge from my den, stretching, craving movement. My energy increases, my mood lifts, and more and more and more gets done. There are weeks in winter when I happily crawl into bed at 8 or 8:30 pm. And in the summer, I'm still out in the gardens in the dusk...
To every thing there is a season--and thank god the seasons change. All of a sudden, I want to get up, go out, and reconnect with the world. This week, I volunteered a few hours unpacking the NOFA bulk order of farm supplies at the New England Small Farm Institute, went to hear music (My Gay Banjo--check them out! I especially love this song.) at the local workers' collective bookstore, Food for Thought Books, and then Anne and I celebrated our anniversary with a day on the town in Northampton, a fancy cocktail at the Tunnel Bar (not at all like the 1990s NYC club!), and dinner at the fabulously delicious India House.
Here's to the end of hibernating, and to the coming of spring . . . turn, turn, turn