Sowing into the whirlwind

Last week I had lunch with an elder colleague. We ate sandwiches his wife made and talked about planting. He showed me seedlings in his greenhouse. Our conversation passed from horticulture to civilization and back again almost seamlessly, with the occasional digression into college football.

“It looks to be a hard growin’ season,” he sighed, weary eyes tracing over his untilled field and the smooth horizon of a nearby lake. I admired his many seedlings, evidence of long hours in skilled and careful craft. My colleague is a man who takes seriously the sacred art of making things grow.

We avoided talking about work. I spoke of my family and the passing of the recent holiday season. A familiar refrain of how my change in careers has so drastically changed household dynamics.

“Coming on a year now,” I said. “Can’t believe it passed so quick. My life is a whirlwind right now, and my days just blow by like leaves.”

The academic term began in August, and I leaned into the plow. Each month I put together the district newspaper, maintained our social media presence, and labored to redesign the website. The new site went live in late September, and with it a host of supplemental maintenance. 10,000 pages of data overhauled in three months. Not bad.

October, November, and December all vanished in a spectral parade of meetings, phone calls, and holidays. “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” I recall many moments where I marked the time…

At the wheel of my car in the driveway, waiting for a favorite song to finish… watching the pink evening sky fade into a star-dappled purple of night. Running my fingers through the cornsilk hair of my son, as I read a bedtime story… feeling his heart slow into the steady drumbeat of sleep. The light in my wife’s eyes when she recognizes me in a crowd… smile widening across her cherubic face. Fingers gliding across the keyboard as I type these words, glancing out into the dark night from the warm comfort of my quiet home… the gentle murmur of my sweet family, a radiant hearth from which I draw strength.

Sublime instances cast forward as tiny ephemeral treasures, hurled into the whirlwind of time. Fragile seeds buried deep in winter’s shadow… soon to spring forth into the flower of memory.



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