I’ve always considered February one of my least favorite months. The days are still short, the winter has dragged on long, and generally February’s a pretty dingy month – if there’s snow on the ground (in Lincoln or in Wichita), it’s covered with a layer of grimy salt and road waste.
So as I’ve been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy, I’ve been reveling in Wilder’s description of springtime from chapter 11.
“Bess and Beauty stepped out willingly, not too fast, yet fast enough to harrow well. They liked to work in the springtime, after the long winter of standing in their stalls.”
That’s EXACTLY how I feel when springtime rolls around and I can get out into my garden. I have a hard time remembering to care for my garden regularly in the summer, and hate to tear it all up in the fall – but after a winter of indoor work, I’m more than ready to get out and plant.
“There was no time to lose, no time to waste in rest or play. The life of the earth comes up with a rush in the springtime. All the wild seeds of weed and thistle, the sprouts of vine and bush and tree are trying to take the fields. Farmers must fight them with harrow and plow and hoe; they must plant the good seeds quickly.
Almanzo was a little soldier in this great battle.”
I love the metaphor here, love how true these paragraphs are, love how they remind me of the parable of the sower sowing good seed.
This year, though, this passage reminds me of springtime of our lives and the great trust that parents are given of sowing seed and cultivating little hearts. It’s easy to be complacent, to assume that children will learn what we want them to learn, that they’ll establish good habits, that there’ll be plenty of time to teach them tomorrow. But the best time to plant a seed and kill a weed is springtime. And the best time to communicate the gospel and establish good habits is early in life.
Which is why I am resolving to be a little soldier in this great battle – and to establish my own habits now, while Tirzah Mae is tiny. Now is the perfect time to get into the habit of speaking the gospel to my daughter, the perfect time to steep us both in Scripture songs, the perfect time to live a visibly Christian life around my home.
Because the life of the earth comes up with a rush in the springtime. And I want the life that grows in my daughter to be a good planting.
“Almanzo asked [Alice] if she didn’t want to be a boy. She said yes, she did. Then she said no, she didn’t.
‘Boys aren’t pretty like girls, and they can’t wear ribbons.’
‘I don’t care how pretty I be,’ Almanzo said. ‘And I wouldn’t wear ribbons anyhow.’
‘Well, I like to make butter and I like to patch quilts. And cook, and sew, and spin. Boys can’t do that. But even if I be a girl, I can drop potatoes and sow carrots and drive horses as well as you can.'”
Okay, this one isn’t exactly about springtime – but it’s in the chapter about springtime. I agree with Alice – I’m awfully glad to be a girl!
I’m reading Farmer Boy as part of Barbara’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge.