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This year has been overflowing with life responsibilities and transitions. One (of the many) things that have fallen by the wayside is writing to you all in this blog. When I sat down with Zuzu to see what might be written, I found this blog about ADLs in draft form from a year ago. Wait, what?!?

How appropriate to this summer as well--a focus on keeping up. Keeping up with the bounty of life and also the responsibilities of life. I'm not going to rewrite my found draft, but I will add a postscript at the end. I am slightly humbled to know that perhaps this year isn't particularly unusual in its intensity. Time to renew curiosity for the swirl of living.

ADLs...activities of daily living. Last week I took five days (mostly) off from my day job so that I could catch up on ADLs. Things like laundry, vacuuming, getting ponies' feet trimmed and teeth floated, scheduling the chimney sweep--you get the idea! It has been an incredibly busy summer for syrup, and we are grateful for every minute of it and for each and every one of you. It seems that we're not the only ones excited about terroir, micronutrients, and the magical-tasting syrups created by the forest! And this is great news for Zoar Tapatree and for a nascent artisanal syrup movement. Perhaps the most motivating aspect of your embrace of our syrup is that this may inspire other small producers to reevaluate their approach to production; to recognize that the trees they steward are also creating magic, and it just takes a bit more patience and a bit less technology to release it. To take the "long cut" as my son used to say. Who knows? Whatever the path others take, we will continue to refine our approach to let the trees' song land in the bottle we send to you.

As I was busily catching up on ADLs, I recognized that, in fact, these are meant to be daily activities, and perhaps I should try harder to carve out time on a daily basis. This is not likely, as I prefer to take a hike, plant a tree, work the ox, etc., but the concept was intriguing. The days fly by, and not knowing how many we will have, I am a proponent of trying to focus on the things I love the most. In fact, it is not the vacuuming that will pop up in our memories but the fond recollections stirred by the shade of a loved tree planted years ago, or the echoes of years past thrumming our heartstrings as a wild flower bobs alongside a well-worn path.

This past weekend marked Grandma Pat's 80th birthday. (Grandma Pat is my mother, and I suppose I'll be the next "Grandma" eventually, and currently am practicing as the grandma to my kids' pups!) As I pulled out the jewelweed that rode to the school house in the hostas (which had been lovingly planted near a Tug Hill stream by my late father--hi, Daddy!), I was nostalgically thinking of the many memories my mom must have--large and small. And therein is the key to perhaps the most important of ADLs: pausing to listen to the whispers of the planet, hear your children's voices, feel the warmth of your dog's fur, look into your pony's eyes, and see the reflected clouds.

A year later, and now Monday is Grandma Pat's 81st birthday. Monday is also the scheduled birth of my first grandson (who is presenting himself to the world buttocks first, just like his daddy!). The year brought a marriage, various trips to the ER for GP, a college graduation, a move to law school, and so many other exciting moments. Breathe deeply. Quietly listen for the sound of the room, then lift your heart to meet the day before you.

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