It is no secret that my preferred domain is the outdoors.  In my free time, you can find me cultivating my garden, working in the chicken coop, paddling my kayak down the Ocmulgee, exploring in the woods or maybe even getting in 18 holes of golf on the weekends, but rarely will you find me indoors.  So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I tend to view the year through the frame of the natural world around us.  This time of year always sees me at my lowest point, both physically and mentally.  The short days and long nights are grinding at my sanity, and even the most mundane tasks can easily seem overwhelming.  But just when it seems that the cold and dark are going to be here forever, mother nature begins dropping subtle signs of the rebirth to come.  It begins very slowly, with the trees beginning to form small buds, tiny precursors to the beautiful blooms and foliage to come.  I find that Rivoli Drive is one of the first areas in Macon to bloom, and it rarely disappoints.  Even before March, the native Magnolias declare the coming change with their brilliant blooms that seem to pop overnight and weeks prior to the other blooming trees and shrubs of the area.  If it’s really quiet, you may hear the faint, shrill calls of a flock of Egrets, flying high above the first layers of clouds on their return from winter migration.  As the students play in the yard, I notice the small, creeping stolons peeking out from the brown, dormant thatch of our Bermuda grass, and I lament the mole crickets that are already beginning to form piles of castings that dot the field, a sure sign they are munching away at the roots just below our feet.  As I stroll back to the chicken coop, it is obvious that our flock is growing tired of the winter as well.  They innately feel the change of season coming, and are becoming more active and lively.  Look out for roosters this time of year, as they are looking to re-establish dominance and might even turn their ire towards you if a person isn’t carful.  This same anticipation and preparation is crucial when it comes to the farm.  We now have forty-one eggs developing in the incubator, and more than eighty plants in our plant nursery, germinating and growing to a size that will be viable and ready to plant in April.  Our compost pile is being turned weekly as it finishes off and gets ready to be amended into the garden soil, completing the nutrient cycle between the garden, chickens, and compost that has gone on all year.  Finally, we are pruning trees in anticipation for new growth and blooms in a few weeks.  Without diligent hard work and preparation in winter, a farm cannot succeed in any other season, and this has been a major theme in Agriculture class this quarter.

The parallels with nature and seasons do not stop on the farm, however as the same principles of natural cycles play out in our own lives as students, parents and teachers in our Woodfield Family.  Spring is always exciting at Woodfield but can often seem overwhelming.  Between graduation, prom, soapbox derby, field day, senior day, awards day and countless other exciting events and dates, April and May are jam-packed and seem to go by in a flash.  This is also the time in the classroom when we are culminating what we have learned over the year and are putting the final touches on our understanding of the material.  When we think of all of the busy, tiring days ahead it is easy to feel intimidated and that there is no way we’ll make it through.  I want to encourage everyone to take some time this month to consider the changing of seasons in your own life.  What do you look forward to this spring?  What will you and your family accomplish and in what areas do you hope to grow?  Spring is coming quickly and summer is right on its heels.  This school year will be gone in a blink of an eye, and with it our spring of growth will give way to a summer of relaxation.  So savor these last few weeks of peace in winter, just as the trees do.  Take time to reflect on the past year’s successes, failures, and loose ends.  Set intentions for the coming season and write down your goals.  Nurture and feed the buds of growth in the lives of you and your family in preparation for the renaissance of spring.  Finally, be encouraged, because just as the buds of the trees yield wonderful blooms and life sustaining foliage, the buds of hope and aspiration in our own lives will bloom and mature as well.

Spring is right around the corner, and Woodfield is ready to bloom!

Spencer Braley

High School Teacher