“Remember the time has come to plow again.” Hesiod, Works and Days
Something deep within us stirs. We feel that spring should be more than just different weather outside. Sure it changes how we dress; and now we have to mow the lawn. Baseball season returns, and flowers bloom.
Yet we sense that more should change. Such a dramatic awakening in all the natural world, must involve us too. Shouldn’t human life be part of the larger cycle of life? Does not that which moves the birds to sing and the buds to swell likewise move us…to do something?
But to what are we moved?
In Hesiod’s command to remember, there is an implicit warning: we can forget. We can forget, even while signs are all around us, that the time has come to plow again. For all of us.
The book of Genesis has God settle man in a garden “to cultivate and care for it.” But what does this mean, especially for us today?
I for one am convinced that I have some remembering to do: somehow my human identity and vocation is to be one who cultivates. And I have not yet realized what this demands. Surely there is even more to it than putting seeds in the earth and tending them.
Yet perhaps putting seeds in the ground is a great place to begin, and to reflect. So that we might learn again who we are, and what spring is calling us to be, year after year.
Hesiod (8th century B.C.) was a Greek contemporary of Homer, and likewise an epic poet. His Works and Days sketches the year-round work on a homestead.
Image: Carl Larsson (1853-1919)