by Danile Martens

Spring has been a long time coming.  I have had seedlings waiting since mid March to harden off and plant.  The woods wildflowers have been in a holding pattern for weeks now and are finally in full flower.  I have never seen so many trout lilies in our woods as we have this year.  The grass has been slow but some warmth and a mild rain have waked it up.  We have had a full complement of new calves for sometime already, including a surprise very small calf that the blind heifer, that keeps a good distance from the rest of the stock, surprised us with a week ago. How did she ever get bred?

The waiting matches my spirit, who am in waiting to see where my recently lost hearing will end up. Waiting is a reminder that life is mostly not under our control, that we live by faith in natural systems and laws, in the good will and care of other people, and by trust in a Mystery we call by many names: Nature, Love, God, Life, a trust that there is meaning somehow in our lives.

Do we make meaning out of what happens to us?  Is that our work as conscious beings?  Perhaps there is a template, much like natural law, that life is organized around, but that plays out in personal ways for us, offering the chance of transformation from individuals into members of the beloved community.

Nature seems to verify such patterning.  This spring, for instance, looks a lot like springs I remember growing up, cooler, later, more temperamental.  Yet the pattern is familiar each year whether it plays out like this late cool spring, or like the spring of 2014,  when unseasonal warmth in mid- March brought everything into bloom early and then crushed all with freezing temperatures in April.  The outlines are well known and give guidance.  It will not be wise to plant out tomatoes  when it is 75 degrees for a week in March.  The variation in specific details means that we will have to use a certain amount of creativity to respond even as we trust the outworking of the pattern overall.  We can probably trust the last frost date for the area even if it is cold until the end of April.  The season will look overall like the pattern.

Enter the uncertainties of climate change and the further uncertainties of when those climatic changes will have effect.  Other patterns will then come into play: natural law will work itself out on a larger scale and overwhelm the seasonal patterns.  What then?  Ultimately the broadest earthly patterns will work themselves out for the benefit of the whole, not for the felt need of any particular member.  Willingly or not, when the chips are down for the planet, we will play whatever role is good for the whole, in return for having assumed the planet would do that for our agenda these hundreds of years.

This might feel like doom, but in the long run, the real long run, which is our eternal home in God, this is change, which goes on in every time and place.

This originally appeared on the Restoration Farm blog at Reprinted with permission.