Where I live in the Andes of South America, May, June and July are some of the coldest months of the year. Temperatures do not drop nearly as low as they do in Minnesota where I was born and raised, but at a higher altitude 30 degree nights can still feel pretty cold.
In the past year, my partner and I have made an intentional shift in our lives and work to farming and caring for the Earth.
I had spent years farming in a semi-urban environment in a local community garden where I lived and served but my role was primarily one of collaboration and my connection to the land was mostly regulated to day time hours. Not to mention that the semi-urban environment didn't offer the same connection to the wild that I now find in farming in a more rural area.
Now that I am making farming more of a priority in my life and work, my consciousness and connection to the Earth and nature's cycles is radically transforming.
Every day of working with the land makes me more aware of the changing temperatures and seasons, the sounds of insects and animals, the smells of plants and flowers and the cycles of the moon.
For the first time this year, I felt myself aware of the winter solstice and the coming changes in daylight and temperatures months in advance.
And of course, my body, my mind and my Spirit resisted. I grew up in the city and my work did not necessarily depend on the change in seasons as my experiences with farming do now.
This year, as nights grew longer and temperatures grew colder, I resisted. I wanted to keep farming, keep producing, keep working though the natural cycles all around me were calling me to slow down.
I raged as I watched frost burn our crops. I dealt with anxiety as I ended each day feeling like I had not accomplished quite enough. My relationship struggled as I picked fights with my partner, unable to settle into a new rhythm, unable to slow down, forcing myself to meet my own unrealistic expectations despite the natural forces shifting all around me.
I also started paying closer attention to the moon and the night sky. I started to open my heart to the call to rest, echoing in my head. It finally occurred to me that I was fighting a losing battle.
Who was I to think that I could out do Mother Earth? Who was I to think that I could resist her cycles, her rhythm, her wisdom? Why was I exhausting myself when I could just surrender and rest?
And then a cricket arrived and set up camp right outside my window and his beautiful song soothed my anxieties night after night as I contemplated this call to surrender, to slow down, to learn to rest in Mother Earth's rhythm.
I decided to learn to listen, not only to his song, but to the many signs all around me calling me to rest.
This watercolor painting is a product of that process.
For so many reasons, I still deal with anxiety and insecurity and a compulsive wish to keep working, keep proving myself, keep moving. But I am also learning. I am learning from the natural rhythms and cycles all around me that embrace the ebb and flow, the highs and lows, the light and dark, death and new life.
I am learning to grow in humility. I am learning to see myself as a tiny part of a universal mystery much more expansive than I could ever imagine. And I am realizing little by little that our finite systems and institutions that drive an unnatural insistence on unlimited growth and production (i.e. capitalism) are not only destroying our Earth but they are chipping away at our humanity and our inherent connection and dependence on the Earth.
"Rest In Her Rhythm" is a watercolor painting created out of the desire for growth.
I desire to grow in humility and learn to live according to the natural cycles available to guide me. My hope is that this painting can serve as a reminder for me and anyone else who shares that desire for learning to rest, to slow down and live according to Mother Earth's rhythm.