The days grow short. The wind whips across barren fields freshly shorn from their
autumn harvest, and Midwesterners bemoan our geography as though we were the
proverbial Job crying out to the heavens, pleading with passing airplanes as to why
we have been forsaken and must bear to suffer this living hell of rolling hills and
ravines, river bluffs and open prairies.
Winter is arrived.
A casual observer can spot squirrels and chipmunks preparing months in advance
for the withdrawn, grey months to come, yet when it arrives we shutter ourselves
indoors save for the obligation of holiday shopping. The trails, both paved and wild,
are emptied, parks are forgotten, and roads and sidewalks, affected by temperate
extremes, are left to slowly, inevitably buckle and crack.
To the winter shut-ins whose excuses grow like summer weeds, for those who think
that adventure is regional, and to any who are convinced that plate tectonics have
left their lands behind, you conclude that your life and those of your ancestors
before you have conspired to lead you to still and stagnant waters:
Let your bones grow brittle and weak, your muscles atrophy as your gut bloats and
your skin pales. As the last leaf falls, convince yourself there are no memories to be
made until spring buds sprout fresh when your body has forgotten any of last year’s
work and you are weak and soft, a shadow of the self you once promised. Your
presence only crowds the playgrounds and your negative energies would breathe
poisons into the air.
I see the buffet of winter adventures to be had, consider both of our place
settings—yours which you’ve unceremoniously pushed away-- and after starting on
my own, say, “I’ll have yours as well.” I want the fresh snow, frozen mud, and
untrodden rubble under my running shoes, careening through the woods, trading a
bit of sure-footedness for a taste of wildness and to forcibly shake away the days’
worth of seasonal depression. These are days that must be won. Like plaque and
tartar build-up must be ceremoniously scrapped away from one’s teeth, so to must
slumber and apathy be shaken and shed from my bones.
You do yourself a disservice to think that this place, this time of year is a time of
This land is not fallow. It breathes and grows even as the cold trees pop, creak, and
groan. The prairies, farmland, and forest will be of wonder whether any of us are
there or not. Why not be a witness? Why not earn a holiday meal or learn how good
a warm cup of tea can really taste? Why not run a cross country race on a farm in a
sleepy town where the wind races from across the unending horizon to chill the
blood still in your veins as you emerge from a thigh-deep creek crossing, baptized
anew? Be as changed as the seasons.
- - Kent is one of the many creatures hidden behind the walls within Bushwhacker. He scampers about with his trusty 4oz Elmers Glue bottle trying to piece together this stick toothpick operation we call home. When he ventures out from his cave of boxes, computers, and scattered remnants of many vegan friendly lunch pails, you'll be greeted with flowing locks, long legs, and a soul-searching stare that will make you wish you had ran this year's Furrow-Euro along side such a man among men.