And Keep Cold

No orchard’s the worse for the wintriest storm;

But one thing about it, it mustn’t get warm.

How often already you’ve had to be told,

Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.”

excerpt from Goodbye and Keep Cold, by Robert Frost

Soon after moving to Vermont, I planted some bulbs along the front walk. Nothing special, just some irises and daffodils from my Massachusetts garden. Then I planted chives off the back porch. With minimal care, these plants will be thriving long after I am gone.

Still, I’m concerned. Lately, the temperatures have shot up into the upper 40’s, and the ground hasn’t remained frozen. With the recent move, I’m not sure if the plants can survive the temperature swings. Winter is nap time for plants, a time to hunker down until it is time to produce again. It’s a rest period, a pause before expending energy in the form of flowers and leaves. What happens when there isn’t enough snow covered down time?

It’s something I think about in my own life, this need for a period of rest. If I don’t take a break from creating and producing, it won’t be long before I cannot produce much at all. Everything has a season, and dormancy is as critical a season as any.

But what if I stop producing? What if a dormant season isn’t a season – what if it stretches to become a barren life? That’s where trust comes in. That’s where the wisdom of seasons is embraced, and the faith that a growing season will return. Or, in Frost’s closing words,

But something has to be left to God.

6 thoughts on “And Keep Cold

  1. Robin Nielsen

    Johnna, I’ve been wondering too about these mild January days, about 50+ degrees some days. We’ve had some snow but it doesn’t stay long; a very different winter so far.
    But, we still have February coming up. I try not to worry about these unusual mild days during a New England winter; having faith in God and having something for God to take care of. You have inspired me to take out my book of Robert Frost poems, a gift from Carl some years ago. Thank you. Peace, Robin

    1. Johnna Post author

      I’m glad you are visiting Robert Frost’s poems – it always feels more like a conversation than a speech when I read his words. Peace, Johnna

  2. Debbie Hill

    Hi Johnna…..It’s interesting that those of us who keep watch over the gardens are all concerned about the little tops of the lilies and daffodils popping up. I shared the same concern with Don. This weather is a strange new reality here…30’s one day and 50’s the next. I don’t doubt, however, that come Spring, albeit early, we will be treated to a profusion of colorful blooms as always….a gift from our Creator Gardiner!
    Thank you for the lovely photos and inspiring thoughts from your new home.

    1. Johnna Post author

      So true, Debbie! I am hoping that the transplants make it – I also planted some of yours here, and have high hopes for them as well! Peace, Johnna

  3. David Anderson

    Love those lines of Frost–will have to track down the complete poem. I have so often felt that concern for the ground, for the soil, for the earth…that it was being jarred from rest, and then chilled back to sleep, then jarred awake again. I never made the connection to my own body and soul. Thanks. (And here’s hoping the 300 bulbs we planted this fall make it!)


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