Now is the time that farmers throughout the temperate zone begin their spring rituals.
Farmers are an eclectic group: rule out the cattlemen & women, the horse people, the shepherds, the tree-farmers, the dairy people, and you still have a wide diversity of opinions, beliefs, ethics, habits, and philosophy among the farmers remaining, the good-ole dirt-farmers, bless them.
I was born and reared on a grandfather's farm. He dibbled in a little this and a little that, but mostly he was a homesteading dirt-farmer. And, I loved it there!
I remember that first plowing, the ritual that began our farming year, a near spiritual rite which in another culture might have been preceded by a blessing celebration. Seems to me there should have been one. There was not. Such as that was reserved until harvest and Thanksgiving Day.
The farmer just started with bent head carefully watching his furrow as he went - blades slicing into the rested earth, releasing her sweet, moist breath - an unmatched, unique fragrance. Farmers know that breath, they breathe it in deep, only in spring. Someone said it is for that, that farmers farm - the addicting, rich, sweet, satisfying fragrance of the first plowing on spring days.
To this day, when the winter weather breaks enough for me to walk out of the house into the garden and onto the lawn, I cringe, I can hardly bear to step on the soil, that wondrous living thing made up of so many live organisms. It feels like stepping on flesh. It is alive.