To Lie Fallow (Thoughts on Rest)

Pointing out of the car window, I ask my grandmother, “What crops are those?”

She explains how to tell the difference between wheat and corn. Shows me how sugar beets grow in clumps. And tells me why the bright faces of sunflowers move east to west, following the arc of the sun.

Every few miles, the landscape changes, and in a sudden shock of absence, the colors disappear.

Looking at the barren field, plowed and empty, I ask my grandmother why.

Were the crops dead? Did the farmer forget to plant?

“They’re resting the field,” she says, “Letting it lie fallow.”

Fallow [fal-oh] adjective
1. (of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more
2. not in use; inactive

Some thirty years later, I sit at my computer, tired from the past year. My creativity feeling forced, my writing contrived. Blank and without ideas. I am tired. Stuck.

I need to go fallow.

To rest and pause. Replenish myself. Sit with the emptiness and wait for the rain, breathe in the air.

Ready myself for the next season, whenever that may be.

And when creativity stirs, let it grow. But only so much before tilling it back into the soil of my soul.

Women are like fields that never go fallow.

We plant, grow and harvest until there is nothing left. Or what grows lacks the vibrancy of true health.

Antonyms of fallow: active, busy, employed, going, industrious

So we’re tired. And frustrated and sad. Wondering where our energy, our day, our week, our lives have gone.

What if we tried lying fallow for a season? And what would that even look like?

Synonyms of fallow: idle, dormant, inert, neglected, quiet, resting

I am halfway through my post. Creativity stirred, and I have let it grow. But only so much.

Because now I will till it back into the soil of my soul.

I will lie fallow.