Finding Balance

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I love the wildness of springtime in Prosser; it resonates with my own spirit somehow. I love when flowers pop up out of seemingly nowhere. Well, all but the tulips that keep cropping up in my Shasta beds. They irritate me, although I have to give them their due. Every year I am convinced that I have killed every last one of them…and every spring they seem to come back with a vengeance. Although they are my least favorite flower (if they were yellow, white, or purple ones I would be fine, but these are red and orange), and I dislike them with a passion, I have become fond of their tenacity.

Growing up in the northern part of Central Washington, I loved that we had the extreme of all four seasons. Here in Prosser we get mild seasons, which does little for the wild me. Prosser’s spring seems to be the rebel; even the finely manicured vineyards show off their wild streak and can make me chuckle. (That is, up until someone goes out and clips them, bringing them back into submission.)
Lately, I have found myself wishing the days away, longing for spring to arrive and push the grayness of the Prosser winters into the past. I cannot really recall a winter that has worn me down as much as this one has. Yet, I also cannot really recall a winter that had so many gray days.
This week, as I sat in my office contemplating buying grow-lights for every light fixture in my home, I looked to my current goal board and was reminded of the promise I made to live in the present each day. I actually heard myself say “ugh” aloud as I connected with the promise I had made. If you are like me, you also have that sometimes-brief conversation with yourself when you ask if you are going to have enough integrity to do what you promised or if you are going to just pull it off the board and act like you never knew it was there. It is in those moments that we really learn about our own character, is it not? So in this moment how was I to live in the present? I found myself at one of those places where I just could not find anything about the present that I was enjoying much. So with camera in tow, I decided to force myself out into the gray and find its brilliance.
As a girl who struggles with dyslexia, I have had to learn that structure is my friend. I had a brilliant doctor show me that because my brain is so scrambled, being in an unscrambled environment can make me focus. This does not, however, come natural for me. The natural me, who is much more wild and free, has learned that to function I have to balance it with an organized surrounding. Having learned all this a few years back I found myself surprised by the lesson I was about to learn from nature.
During my walk, I found simplicity in winter that was restful.
And while it certainly was not as stimulating for me as spring, I could now appreciate it in a way that had been eluding me. Oddly, it gave me insight into my own plight; it helped me to understand that there is beauty in structure. While at times it is only the structure that one can see, it is the structure that anchors the growth we will see at harvest time. Even my beloved grapevines, under all their leaves and wild shoots, need the uniformity of a strong structure in order to be their best in the fall.
It is all about finding balance, I am finding out. Winter has summer, and spring has fall. It is up to us to find the beauty in them all so we don’t waste a moment.
To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Rene’,
    This is so true.. To everything there IS a season…Not just in nature, but in life…I think this might be the toughest lesson to learn for us "gals".. We try to squeeze in a whole life into one season sometimes… If there is anything nature has taught me, it is that even when it seems nothing is happening in the garden, they are! Right now,the ground is thawing making it possible for warmer days to do their magic on the roots of my plants. I’m always amazed at how my crocus are able to bloom so early with such brilliant color.. It’s as if god gave them and they alone the job of announcing to all..Hang on everyone!Spring is coming!
    After a fun day in the "farmyard" yesterday I went out "camera in hand as well" to visit my winter garden which has been covered in snow for a few weeks. Dead seed heads on my black eyed susans provided food for the birds,and the ornanental grasses now the color of fresh straw add such a pretty texture to my winterscape. it was a gray day here too, but I snapped away none the less… It snowed more last night and today the sun is out and everything is sparkling.. I’m headed out with my camera again… Hey, it beats sitting inside pining away for spring…It’ll get here no matter how I wait for it 🙂
    Thanks for more wonderful words here Rene’!


  2. Karen says:

    What a great article. Living in Oklahoma, I have been having the same feelings that winter will never end. My dogs a restless and wanting to go on long walks. The short walks to the mailbox are not satifying them. I am anxious to see what sprouts through the ground as the weather warms to Spring. Balance is a good thing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Bonnie Story says:

    Hi! Honey, why kill tulips??? Let them shine!! They don’t last long anyway… I dunno, the deer around here (I’m in Quilcene, WA) don’t let me have tulips, and the idea of you ripping them up for being the wrong lovely color makes me… SAD I guess. You must have some really good deer fencing, or an army of large dogs!! Moving on from the tulip thing, I too find winter really relaxing in the lack of stimulus. The picture says it all – a blank canvas against which we can really see truth without razzle-dazzle and rush-rush. Thank you so much for this post, you really put your finger on something sweet that I have been missing. Have a great day! Bonnie

  4. Gary says:

    Perfect timing Rene’…
    Your Bloggie speaks to our longing for "change for the better"… we do it even when what we have is Swell, albeit not perfect.
    "Gray days"… my career brought me to Florida, and when I arrived, I declared I would "never" miss those long "gray days of Winter" back Home in the Smokeys. Well, guess what… sunshine every day will just wear you out, and after 20 years of it, I sooo long for those "good ol’ gray rainy days".
    Balance… hmmm… I’m sure it’s somewhere, yet I have no clue where… meanwhile, I shall find it within myself and return to my beloved Mountain and it’s "gray days".
    Hey… I bet there is someone within a few miles of you, who is saying: "I love Spring, if I could just keep that awful shasta out of my beautiful red tulip bed.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa


    Hahahah…. You be kind to those Shastas…LOL

  5. Nice writing, Rene’. This has been such an unusual winter…one that can challenge the emotions. A ‘long-timer’ from this area said that the last time he saw a winter like this it was 54/55.
    so, the two positives here are:
    1)maybe we won’t have another one for 50 years
    2)spring ‘should’ be here much sooner than last year

    If we get a few days like yesterday and today, I think that I can work in my flower beds….we’ll see

  6. Nancy says:

    This post was so beautiful Rene. Balance for one person may not be balance for another-but you touched on something so very true….and that is finding an honoring the balance that works and is real for our individual selves.

    Nature never fails to offer us Her inspiring ways of helping us find ourselves, or sweet pieces of calm, nurturing, strength and balance to our lives.

    When in doubt, in drought of the spirit, troubled, or simply feeling out of sorts with our life or Life in general….my motto is always….."Go Outside"….

    hugs and blessings,

  7. Kitty says:

    My husband is out plowing snow AGAIN! Overnight the howling winds whip the snow into place.Our days have been without sunshine,also. When I feed my birds I think of the misplaced sunflowers that will show up in summer. They bring joy and interesting imbalance to my balanced flower gardens.I love photography and also find that winter offers many beautiful and restful photos. Keep looking at the hill in our field….wonder if the sled will work????

  8. Grace~katmom says:

    hey girlie, send me those tulip babies…I run a home for wayward tulips! lol!

  9. Cameron says:

    Well Dear Rene,

    One thing Winter does for you is bring out the poet and philosopher! Wonderful!! Your thoughts echo a conversation that’s been repeated here (Northern Indiana) more than a few times over the last several days. Fellow "Farmgirls" are feeling the Winter ‘blahs’ bigtime. We don’t remember what green grass looks like…….the ground has been a blanket of white for weeks upon weeks! Your comment regarding how long this Winters’ seemed is a feeling most of us are experiencing.

    On a cheerier note………the Canada Geese have been flying back for the last week or so, I KNOW Spring is coming with them! If it isn’t my imagination, the deer are beginning to lighten in color and the finches are exchanging their grey feathers for the far more becoming daffodil yellow every day!!! Oh, how I want to see that shock of vibrant color……, orange yellow, purple!!!

    At least the weather is recession proof!!! Spring can’t be mortgaged or laid-off!!

    Out of all the many things to be thankful for, I must admit I’m thankful for Winter the most, Spring just wouldn’t seem as magical without it!

    Happy thoughts to add to yours, Rene. Thank you!

  10. Linda #583 says:

    I’ll dig in your tulip bed any cold day! One’s trash is another’s treasure; and, I LOVE those colors!

  11. julie zastera says:

    I loved the articele and your reference to the verse at the end.. It really helps me keep balance as I try to do to much .. Thank you. Julie z

  12. Pat says:

    Rene, I love your pictures. I really really love the Mary Jane newsletter that you do. Those old vintage pictures you use are so cute. Thanks you for sharing. I am Farmgirl # 227.

    Thank you Pat….

  13. meredith says:

    I too have been worn down by this winter in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia- we have had snow since before Christmas and while I love snow, taking care of our farm (many, many cows and 10 equines), the traditionally "slower" season when we rest and relax and gear up for spring- crops- hay has never materialized this year. I can see needing a good vacation when this snow is all done and mud season dries up. I try, each day, not to complain with everyone else about the snow and cold- I do love snow, even when I have to work in it-and remember that the good earth has needed this moisture for some years here, and the corn and hay will flourish with all the water they will have. God provides what we need, when we need it!

  14. Marisa Hayes says:

    Rene, Your words and insight to the surroundings are so beautiful and true. I, too, struggle sometimes with winter. I can’t imagine doing without it, but I do wish it could be "shortened" by a few months. But winter does have its own beauty, and I do LOVE to play, I mean shovel, snow (ha! ha!), which my husband appreciates and my granddaughter loves. So, Rene, maybe you can do what I do for the winter "blues" and bring summer inside. I make new curtains/home decor and give my house a "warm" feeling with … greens, yellows, blues,(I love the summer sky!) and plant more greenery!!….. just stay away from neutral colors … hence, winter. You can always rotate your colors each year if you want or make it a fun project of deciding what you want to do "this winter". It can be fun and it doesn’t have to cost a lot if you’re a bargain shopper. Since you love to take pictures, take pictures of your creations as a reminder of the ever changing beauty of both inside and outside your home. LOL Marisa


    Thank you for the challenge. I have been working on re-doing my office space…. Bright yellow!!!

  15. carolj says:

    Thanks for reminding me that there is beauty in every season. This Georgia girl is grateful for a few days of sun and warmer temperatures, but like Rene I am finding it hard to be motivated to live in the moment or face the few deadlines I have. Maybe today is a good day to start culling magazines for pictures for the collage I need to make just for the fun of it.

  16. Reba says:

    Hello Rene,
    I can’t believe it! It is 60 degrees and sunny outside…just last week it was snow, even here in Georgia! I walked around outside and found so many daffodil buds just waiting to pop open! My flowering quince? has pink blooms already on it! I could’nt believe how beautiful after the snow! But we get such a small amount of snow, I enjoyed that as well. I have been cleaning out a "sewing closet" so that has kept me occupied until today…I just had to be outside. And when I looked out I saw about a dozen robins pecking away at the ground. Now that is a sure sign of Spring! Reba

  17. Linda Rogers says:

    This Texas farmgirl has also had it with the cold weather and even some sleet and snow,we don’t usually have this cold this long. Even had hubby plow the garden, got the tractor stuck, oh, well, I know its too early, but guess I was trying to rush Spring. I have been trying to appreciate the winter and know there is a purpose for every season. I am new to Mary Jane’s and learning the web site. Have gotten several ideal, and can’t wait to try some.
    I too enjoy your blog, would like to find others from Texas. I am Farmgirl #946

  18. Well said! We really do need to appreciate what is around us at the moment and let the rest just come naturally.

  19. Darcey says:

    Thanks so much for this post Rene! I know I am not the only one facing these grey days. (I’m in Wisconsin) I am so ready for spring, though. I, too, have had a hard winter with my health and with my little one who wants to be outside all the time.

    I’ve had thoughts about packing up and leaving this place forever, just to avoid winter…but then I get a smell of spring, and I can’t wait. My heart picks up and I remember. I’d hate to miss that transition.

    And there are moments when I love being inside, in a snow storm, where we can just unwind and live quietly for a moment. Life can never be perfect can it!

  20. shelley says:

    wonderfully and beautifully written! i could see everything you described in my own minds eye and it ushered in a sense of peace this morning. i have been sitting here contemplating what to do for the day and although quilting is on my adgenda, i think i’ll be finding my way outside to play in my pots and ready them for spring. also, i thought it was so cute that you don’t like tulips! i love them. i guess that’s like having straight hair and wantin’ curly! i have a lone pot of tulips on my kitchen windowsill and i love them. they are a beautiful red and my husband who has never bought me flowers in 20 years of marriage brought them home to me the other day. he’s slowly changing! it was a fabulous gift to receive. i wish for you peace and love in your day.

  21. estelle says:

    Hi, Im brand new to farmgirl and what a post to start with. I am sitting here listening to the wind and rain knowing i should go to bed and surfing instead then i find my feelings in words better than i could have described to my self, thank you Ill be a regular soon im sure

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