I’ve never been particularly good at waiting. When we lived in the city, I always wondered why they called it “rush hour” for the simple reason that traffic seemed to crawl rather than rush. I’d sit in a long line of cars, waiting to either get to work or to get home, and know that my blood pressure was inevitably rising.

I’d feel the sweat gathering on the palms of my hands and under my arms, and then, as soon as the traffic would start to move and I’d once again be heading toward my destination, I would feel my blood pressure ease back and all would be well, at least until the return drive or the next traffic jam.

And in truth, one of the many reasons for our move to the creek was the fact that there is no traffic in the country. Red stoplights are few and far between, and if a farm vehicle does lead a slow-moving parade of traffic, mostly during the spring or fall, chances are that when the line of cars grows excessively long, the farmer will pull off to the side of the road and

But now it is winter. The slow-moving tractors and their assorted implements sit parked in barns or side yards, waiting for spring. And like the tractors, I have come to learn that even though there are no country traffic jams, a country winter is still filled with waiting.

It seems that this particularly wet winter, I find myself waiting for the sun to shine, and more importantly, waiting for the ground to dry out sufficiently for us to drive out across the fields and bring in more firewood. We heat our home with wood that we harvest from standing dead trees at the edges of our fields, but we have learned from experience that
rutted fields are difficult to farm using our 50-year-old equipment. Modern mega-tractors seem to float over the ruts, but our tractors quickly turn into bucking broncos as they pass over rutted ground.

So, Greg and I patiently wait, watching our once-massive wood pile dwindle, and it occurs to me that what holds true for barns also holds true for wood piles. They should always be made far larger than imagined necessary.

This country waiting, though, is so different from waiting in a city traffic jam. My blood pressure does not seem to rise at all.

Wintertime waiting now gives me the luxury of deciding to sit warm by the fire and read a good book, or if I am so inspired, I can decide to clean out and organize the sugar shed. I might even sit at the long workbench in the basement and sort my many marbles into similar colors and patterns and then put the prettiest ones out on display. Perhaps I could research a new recipe for a pot roast and feel its special warmth as the kitchen fills up with its simmering aroma.

And then it occurs to me. Wintertime waiting really does not affect my blood pressure at all. Just as the farmers pull off to the side of the road to let a line of country traffic pass, there is always a diversion to pull my attention away from waiting, keeping my creek valley blood pressure at bay.

No doubt about it. I am eagerly waiting for the days to grow longer and the temperatures to warm in the new year, but as I climb the stairs to our log-vaulted loft, I am ready for a good night’s sleep, content with the luxury that wintertime waiting has afforded me. I really am ever so thankful for our country life. Yes, even during these particularly gray, wet days, I
cannot help but smile.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.