Shivering Suckers and Long Sweater
II almost forgot how moody spring in the Nordics is. It has been a year with a long cool summer and not-the-worst winter, so a snowy drizzle in April, followed by icy hail, was like a punch in the face.
I felt flustered, and my usual admiration for budding leaves abandoned me with a couple of dancing questions that could apply to both farming and life:
What to do when something that starts to grow suddenly meets undesirable circumstances?
How does the fruit turn out if the conditions in which it grew were far from perfect?
Is it just like with good and bad wine years…when fragile grapes echo the autumn weather in their produced spirits?
I went for a walk. It was 9 degrees (48 F), and the hail bouncing off my jacket was turning into wet rainy droplets. Spring-green leaves bursting from the trees trembled in the cold air and looked so pale one could think they were covered in a thin layer of ice. I wondered what would happen with them. Will they bravely bloom or give up and freeze? It was supposed to be warm, so the mid-spring temperature drop came as a surprise. I could imagine the flowers once again cursing the weatherman and his fallible forecast.
I sped up my walk to keep warm, and the city councils did all they could to keep the plants warm. Within days roses were covered with burlap sheets and tree stems wrapped in foamy blankets. It seemed strange to go through all this effort, but such is human nature- to constantly alter the circumstances and fuss around even if it may not make sense.
The fruits, flowers, projects born from such a stir come with a message crafted by adversity. They call for resilience, patience, learning something new, changing our point of view. The bitter little suckers that weren’t graced by sunny skies create a challenge that may not appear in more optimal conditions. And challenge calls for a change much louder than optimality of comfortable status quo.
The human effort that at times goes against logic underlines the essence of life. So when your budding project du jour turns into a challenged little sucker met with tough circumstances like magnolia trees hit by Oslo’s April snowfall, just:
…go with the flow, make this flow deeply yours, bend the streams towards shinier waters. Protect your crops as well you can; learn but don’t burn. Run with the time, forward, to the next day when its new inventions will solve your problems. Even if this year your green veins froze and fruits of effort were rotten and futile, you would emerge the next year more resilient and prepared. Bring your blankets and burlap sheets, throw them into chilly winds, stay the course, believe in your force, get what is yours.