As cold as it’s been outside, I am deeply grateful for this winter that envelops us.

The cold, and the slowing of our activities, has given me time for stillness, for contemplation. In the busy-ness of this past fall, we were deeply into harvesting. We were harvesting the fruit of friendship and community…from seeds sown weeks, months, and even years, previously.

It was such a busy time, full of energy and excitement and new ideas and noise. It was good. It was purposeful and useful.

Then we moved toward winter. And my spirit needed some time of dormancy, just like the earth. I needed — my children needed — some quiet and stillness. And that is what we did. We stayed home, alone, more and reacquainted ourselves with one another and the natural rhythms of a ‘just family’ life. And it was good. It was purposeful and useful.

It was not my intent to bring a permanent end to community. As with the natural seasons and cycles of the land…spring always comes, and things blossom anew.

Each season brings new crops, maybe different from seasons before. Each spring brings different elements, differing amounts of moisture and sunshine. And, yet, spring comes.

What will spring bring to our family? It’s not yet known.

Finding a way to respect the ‘just family’ life and make room for community…that is the goal, and challenge.

But, for just this moment, I’m choosing to enjoy our waning days of winter. I’m choosing to see the benefit of our semi-forced, semi-isolation.

I am choosing to be completely filled-up with the many necessities and joy of this ‘just family’ life.

And then there will be Spring.