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by Annie Lively

The opening act of summer is best noticed

in my body.

I am defrosting with the ground,

softening to the world and melting away icedams that felt like forever

for a while.

My sister is in the greenhouse

breathing life into the coming seasons on the farm

and up the hill my mind wanders close behind.

New vision is germinating as the patterns of winter

are rearranging into something dressed in green.

I lick my lips and muse harvests on the horizon

I rub my eyes and see the seasons behind me with clarity only

distance can bring.

It is big, bright, and loud to sit with myself

in a new way

and I am often unprepared to do it.

But I am noticing more as the light lingers longer

and birdsong swallows my hurry for a while.

Can I feel the buds inching up from inside me?

Is my blood warming with the water?

Is this hope sitting beside me?











This is not the first poem I’ve written about my deep love for spring. Every year I am overcome with hope and excitement as I watch the world around me unfurl during this season. It is the same this year; my depression is surprised by the persistent joy that nudges me from inside. And there is something also something new.

I revel in the infinite possibility of spring alongside my sister, Jane, who is fully immersed in another year cultivating the farm. Without thinking, I assume we are all equally transfixed on the hope that bursts from buds forming on the trees. I am learning to assume less these days.

Jane shares my love for the beauty of spring but is carrying a load I haven’t always noticed. As the manager, only full-time laborer, and face of the Lively Farm, spring comes with tear-jerking weight. The days are lengthening but still too short. The seeds are germinating, but are the beds ready to greet them? People are dreaming of vegetables, but will they deeply invest in the projects unfolding on the farm?

The bounty I look forward to in a few months rests on the work of farmers right now. Farmers who are tired, anxious, and excited. As I reflect on this, it only makes the season richer. Jane is working alongside the sprouts, the embryos, and the dirt as life prepares for the busy season. I am finding new joy in spring kneeling in the garden beside my sister, hoisting up posts for the shade cloth, and looking deeply at the reality of the work left to do. It is not an effortless season. I am seeing new beauty as I join the energy pushing us forward.

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