That sunrise feeling

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning. – Mary Oliver


It’s that feeling when you wake up, eyes all swollen and heavy – and you step outside, walking to the big farm truck with your head still down watching as your feet shuffle across the snowy ground – and then you look up and the sky is blazing with the first glows of sunrise.  If the glow doesn’t blow you away first off, it’s the feelings to follow that do.  The swelling of heart strings at the breathtaking beauty the sky beholds or the way you feel at peace as you greet the day and the new sun.  As Oliver writes, sunrise – the best preacher there ever was.

But then your eyes blink, it is March 23, the ground is beginning to thaw and the alliums are seeded.


Spring is fast approaching and we are watching the small crocus bulbs beginning to pop up below our kitchen windows.  Birds are beginning to sing again in beautiful and magical ways.  Here at Maggie’s we have emerged out of this winter tending to our new alliums in the greenhouse.  It is the warmest place on the farm for now, as the fields begin to thaw and the sun begins to break through the wintery ice shell that has covered the land all winter.  Peeling off the layers of winter sweaters has become a daily occurrence for some of the students here as they manage the greenhouse and tend to all our baby alliums with care and diligence.  It is a remarkable place to be and a special time of year as we are invigorated with birth and renewal.


One area of the farm that has not been resting this winter is our cordwood production.  We have been processing wood since late fall and have worked despite the below freezing temperatures of winter.  Every winter we process 5 cords of wood for Maggie, the woman who gave her family farm to the Farm School – where most of us are now living.  In one week, our group hand split and delivered the 5 cord of wood to Maggie’s home.  We have some really strong men and women in our group and some who become so entranced by the work that they could buck up logs for days and never rest.  We have a cowboy who gets the cordwood craze glint in his eye when he sees it on the schedule, who at 9pm at night can be heard down at our woodpile cutting up wood for the furnace.  Seeing what areas people really fall in love with is fascinating and amazing, being able to watch as people discover new passions – such as wood processing – is just one of the many blessings of this place.


Sugaring season has been off to a slow start this year with temperatures below freezing and teasing us with moments of sunshine and warmth.  Despite this the crews have begun to collect sap on a daily basis and people have been up late boiling away and playing music.  The smell of the boil is one of the most heavenly things on this planet and the warmth of the steam boiling off is definitely like getting hugs from maple trees.  Its similar to that sunrise feeling you get when you see the sky burning red, as you sit and watch the sap turns to syrup in the pan.  It’s magic, nothing less.

Sheep Shearing Snapshot: It was time for me to pick the ewe I was going to shear.  There was only one left whose wool had not been claimed, so I grabbed #18 and brought her out onto the barn floor.  Her face was brown with spots of white and she was smaller than most of our other ewes.  I then began to adjust my body position to hold her against my legs.

photo 3

Meanwhile, Fred is chatting about how he broke his elbow once when he was shearing a llama and he just kept working, then got bit on the bum by a dog and it was the most painful injury he ever had, even worse than a broken elbow.  As he kept telling us stories, I began to use the hand shears and find my deep love for using them.  The relative ease at which I took to hand shears was relieving, mostly because I was terrified I would cut my ewe up at first use of them!  It was a total different experience using the electric shears and I found them to be a bit jarring.  Fred kept saying, “keep it close to tha skin or y’all knick’er, ya gatta tilt the blades.”  As he spoke and repeated these words I found myself getting more and more nervous, and finally nicking her once at the end.  After it all, I had a 9.5lb bundle of wool from the shearing, all that I plan on using to make many needle felted creatures!




One thought on “That sunrise feeling”

  1. YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Love it!! Always so good to get these I am happy to be reminded of that poem too!!! She writes so well. So do you!!

    Missing you this Sundayand always, Love, M

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