Under the Covers with a Flashlight

Reader Contribution by Angela Pomponio
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For many years January is the month of forgiving myself.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do make lists of projects for the year, hopes and goals.  This first New Year on our Pomponio Homestead proved to be the same, but different.  I spent the week between Christmas and New Year cleaning up and out, making to do lists, budgeting, and setting the vision for accomplishments with Dom and Dominic (my husband and 3 year old son.) January I feel is nature’s gift to those who live in tune with the seasons.  January says ‘sure, take a nap,’ ‘that isn’t urgent, it can wait,’ ‘eat some of the prepped food you worked so hard to put up.’  January is for dreaming, resting, and enjoying the fruits of your labors.

I took a couple of naps and made reams of lists.  But after two weeks I started feeling as if my project list was too much to leave to summer months alone, and a bit lazy for napping afternoons away.  I get an urgent feeling in my chest when I am not accomplishing all of my daily regular tasks, at least one not daily task per day, and definitely some sort of project per week.  

The past week I was low on ambition other than the desire for a nap, but my brain was nagging me to DO something.  I got out all of the livestock books that I has previously skimmed and stuffed onto the bookshelf and started nightly reading.  With an inquisitive attached preschooler, our 4-year-old friend Harley who stays with us 3 to 5 days a week while her mom attends nursing school, and a 100-hour work week husband, often 15 minutes after everyone falls asleep is my only solitary time.  Fifteen minutes a night has turned into voracious up till midnight read-a-thons.

It has become very real that spring will bring bees, turkeys, chickens and maybe a calf and pig.  I have to

know what and how to do that.  I am cramming for the finals and if I flunk my family and those creatures will suffer my ignorance.  More than that, I have difficulty crediting myself with accomplishments.  I pass them off as luck, fake-it-till-you-make it flukes.  I am on a journey to authenticity.  When every aspect of your life is reflective of your true self, no facades, you must own it all good or bad.  So I am studying, studying, planning, listing, earmarking, post it flagging, dreaming and thoroughly enjoying.

I am that student who wants the degree but has begrudged the class roster.  I was figuring it out as I went, getting frustrated when my shortcomings proved to lengthen and complicate projects, always feeling a beat or two behind the eight ball.  I applied myself truly to save my own neck and beat back the panicked imminent doom feeling that I get when not knocking out projects and ticking off boxes on all list.  All of a sudden a light flipped on, this is AWESOME!   I mean, have you seen the Seed Savers Exchange catalog???  Who needs glossy clothing catalogs, racy late night cable or a juicy novel?   I want a week in bed with cinnamon spicy tea and detailed descriptions of heirloom French melons.  I want my snuggliest rag socks, to finally finish knitting that cowl I have been barely working on for months, Natural Beekeeping on PBS and to absorb garden planning via osmosis.  I want to reread every word Joan Dye Gussow and Joel Salatin ever wrote with a new fervor born of reality.  We are on our homestead.  We are growing our own food.  We are the stewards of these over 20 acres.  Animals will rely on me for there keeping and safety.  

My goals are lofty and well laid out.  I am studying with happiness in my heart.  I have months of cold, dark, tea, honey and books.  January is no longer the month of rest, it is the month of dreams. Happy seed shopping friends!

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