How About A Holiday For The Land?

By Justin Isherwood | February 16, 2018


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The premise here is that the land has holidays, not just its nations and peoples but the land itself has holidays.  These holidays have a seasonal core that is both selective as it is prejudicial.  Your land holidays wouldn’t be the same as mine, your land is different from mine.

To my taste the first of these holidays is known to its practitioners simply as … top-down.  Top-down is a land holiday.   The top down reference isn’t only attached to those vehicles known collectively as convertibles.  Top down applies to pickup trucks, with the windows rolled down.  To a bicycle ridden bare-headed, or if you’re with helmet, without the liner.  Top down refers to the house with the windows open.  This holiday includes Harleys in any form, and that tennis court even though it is surrounded by snow banks.  All of these qualify as “top down”.

It is obvious why this date cannot be affixed to the calendar because it doesn’t happen uniformly and what is a top down holiday for one person isn’t close to top down for another.  This act of liberation is relative to a person’s latitude and why this holiday can’t fit on the calendar.

I live at 45° north, about middle north of the hemisphere.  It is colder mid-continent at 45° north than we would be if we were 45° north in Europe.  In Lincolnshire they celebrate top down somewhere in late January, here it is likely March if not April.  40 degrees on a still day will do it.  60 degrees certainly will.  After a winter of minus 50 wind chill, 40 degrees seems balmy, 60 is downright tropic.  The sensation of this temperature differential is close to being miraculous, that the self-same spot on earth that can at once be so hostile to life, suddenly and with the most romantic embrace become a loving companion.  I believe it is this character change of our planet and our place on this planet that gets to our hearts.  Suddenly we too are in love again.  In love with our place on earth, and when that happens it’s easy to be in love with everything else as well.

Ten minutes later, especially if you’re driving faster than 40, its nice to put the top up.  But it doesn’t matter, we now know the truth of our place.  Persephone is back, grass will be green, dandelions will again prove triumphant.  For the moment we can enjoy this liberation without the taint of lawn mowers and air conditioning.  As said, top-down is the first land holiday.

Justin Isherwood

Justin Isherwood is a fifth-generation farmer and an award-winning writer. His most recent books are Pulse: A Farmer’s Take on the Universe and Walking on Water II.
2018-02-10T23:05:34+00:00 Tags: |

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