On the first day of winter he awoke and stood at his window and looked out on his fields wet with rain. It had taken him longer this year to clean the banks and hillsides. He no longer went at tasks to finish them in one day. Now he worked as time and strength allowed and walked away from unfinished jobs, knowing or hoping that another day would soon come when he might have a few more hours to swing the scythe or axe or mattock.
His work no longer bore the neatness and evenness of that in his earlier days when all the cuttings, all the plowing, was of the same vintage. Now his fields looked not ragged or unkempt but rather like a patchwork quilt made of squares and rectangles clean in and of themselves, but contrasting with those adjoining. Nonetheless, on this rainy morning of the day when the sun would begin its certain return to dominance, he looked on his fields stretching away to their forest borders and felt pride in his work and joy in his stewardship and hope in the return of the seasons of growth.