As most of you know, it’s getting pretty darn cold around here. There’s no more flirtation with Indian Summer, no thinking that we’ll have some more long, warm afternoons to clean up the garden, maybe sit on the deck with a cup of tea, play some ball with the kids. It’s all mittens and hats, waiting for the windshield to defrost in the car and hunching against the wind. And root vegetables. Lots of root vegetables.
Shana did the honors of getting the Thanksgiving share from the market on Saturday morning. As the folks from Tantre Farm suggested, she went early, because the longer the vegetables were out the more likely they were to freeze. It was seventeen degrees at seven a.m. My household, taking advantage of her generosity, stayed home and warm, ate pancakes and made our way over to Shana’s place by 10 or so, to split up the big boxes of produce.
The vegetables were cold and most of them were a bit dirty (Shana and Naomi gave identical girl squeals when something with many legs crawled out of the bag of turnips). But when I got home and sorted them out as the late morning sun streamed into my kitchen, I discovered that something in me has changed over the years in Michigan. Each beet, sprout, and even rutabaga, objects I would have formerly eyed with suspicion and disdain, was lovely, their colors and textures as compelling as the summer seduction of peaches or bright berries. Not, perhaps, so easily loved, so come hither. But beautiful nonetheless.
And this is the lesson I’m trying to remember as we head into winter. Don’t fight winter — be in it. In all the the cold and mud and ice and endless Michigan grey, there’s beauty too. You have to dig a bit for it; you have to stop, unclench your huddled shoulders, take a deep breath. But it’s there and sometimes all it takes is a stray sunbeam to reveal it.