The Muslim mystic, Jalal ad-din Muhammed Rumi once described a garden in winter time as follows: “Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots down there are riotous.”
These words came to me one frosty morning as Rosa Parks and I began our morning walk across the archery field. Everywhere I looked there were crazy trails embedded in the snow. Signs of riotous behavior on somebody’s part! It looked like a few fairies had been playing games there. Or perhaps one dark night a grand deep winter dance had been held by the forest animals. The trails were narrow—no more than an inch wide, and not very deep. I enjoyed letting my imagination take me to these possibilities!
And then, upon my return to the Farmhouse, I turned to information the scientific community might offer. I discovered that the trails were likely the paths that tiny voles (a small relative of the common field mouse) make as they develop their winter world under the snow. Voles do not hibernate, but in fact are very active in the winter months. They build paths, storage rooms, living spaces, and even vole “bathrooms”, all spaces that humans would have trouble spotting until the snow cover collapses into them. There had been a few warmer winter days in the past week that eventually exposed the vole world to all. Fascinating!
I thought to myself that the month of January, particularly the last two weeks of it, seemed as crazy and riotous in our country as the paths in the archery field seemed. Thankfully, there have also been some pretty straight paths available to us. I heard from many Betsey Cox girls and women about their adventures at the Million Women Marches that took place all over our country on January 21st. For those of us who participated, how good it felt march a straight path with so many clear-thinking people, people committed to distinguishing our country in the community of nations. In Boston, where I marched, people held signs urging attention to a wide range of local, national and international issues. The signs were often funny, yet they reminded me of the many projects and problems that require our attention. I
I felt so glad that so many Betsey Cox people were involved in the marches and were ready to lean into the work we must do. I look forward to hearing stories of each person’s experience and to finding ways this summer at camp to help. And I am grateful that the path forward for us, though rough and rocky in places, should be less riotous than the ones built by the Camp Betsey Cox voles!
See you in a matter of months now!