Winter is probably the best time of year to read David Kline. "Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer's Journal" is one of my favorite books of all time. Last night, I was reading a chapter entitled "Hunger Moon" which refers to the month of January. He talks about the pace of life and the inherent survival challenges of January, the mid-point of winter. In very poetic terms, he describes the deep winter struggles of field mice, chipmunks, foxes and opossums.
The forecast says we will have snow today. Unfortunately, unlike the winters of central Ohio (where David Kline farms) I don't think it will stick around very long. I suppose that might be good news for anybody who works downtown, but its bad news for anybody who wants to brush up on their detective skills. In "Hunger Moon", Kline talks about "reading the news" after a winter snowfall. "The news" refers to all of the animal tracks left in the snow overnight. A focused naturalist can read the stories of the previous night's animal adventures by examining the tracks left in the snow. He describes the battle between a great horned owl and a mouse: "The evidence was plain: the impression of an owl's wingtips and several crimson spots on the snow..." To me, reading the news sounds like a better way to spend tomorrow morning than driving downtown...maybe there will be time to do both...
Either way, a snowstorm in January seems like a good time to appreciate the differences between winter and summer and a good time to start looking forward to the spring.
Quoted from the same story, he relates an "old farmer's rhyme":
"When January nears its end
On this advice you can depend:
Have half your wood and half your hay
And you'll come safely through to May"