Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness --by Mary Oliver
Every year we have been witness to it: how the world descends into a rich mash, in order that it may resume. And therefore who would cry out
to the petals on the ground to stay, knowing, as we must, how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be? I don’t say it’s easy, but what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world be true? So let us go on
though the sun be swinging east, and the ponds be cold and black, and the sweets of the year be doomed.
This poem by the amazing Mary Oliver conjures the bittersweet slide into autumn...into a "sweet mash." Certainly apt. I step over the hundreds of apples surrounding the barn, picking a couple for the horses while I do chores, avoiding the yellow jackets munching on the softer fruit. The insect world is frenetically enjoying the last throes of the warm weather. I am struck by the crescendo of cricket voices, peaking just before they will be abruptly silenced by the first hard frost. It makes me a little sad. The garter snakes are cozying up under the water buckets, insulating themselves from the cooling temperatures. And of course the trees. We live in sugar maple country, so the forests are transforming into a blaze of yellow and orange, maybe more slowly this year, but certainly all the same. Watching the brilliance of the leaves, so recently green, I appreciate that we started this year collecting the clear sap that developed and nurtured the beauty before me, and I hope that the gift will be passed on for many years to come. Cycles of life indeed--each year and each generation laying the groundwork and providing the sustenance for the next.
It has been a busy year on Zoar Road and we are gearing up for the fall and winter seasons. Paul is industriously cutting wood and preparing syrups for our fans. Jeri is back at school teaching art and instructing yoga in the evenings. The kids are back to college, school, and work, hopefully making the world a better and more beautiful place. Haldeman West established a basecamp in Sackets Harbor, which maintains the "West" directional, but in much closer proximity, so we've been able to enjoy the company of Marilyn, Dave and Susan. Grandma Pat is busily searching out a window washer. Ivy has been traveling the world with her amazing artwork. Shane and Kayla are plotting out a new life together. And the pets...they're giving us all the consistency we need to weather the inconsistency. We've had some losses, as well. Our dear neighbor, Mali, gently slipped to the other side on a beautiful late summer day. She was of the Penobscot tribe, and I loved to hear her talk about her family and her ancestry. Hers was a devoted love of these forests and natural resources, and a big fan of Tapatree syrup. She will be missed, although I feel her presence still. Circles.
Autumn can be viewed wistfully, but it is also one of my favorite times of year for its richness and amazing hiking. And certainly it is a season that simply bellows out for a heavy dosing of syrups...in your tea, in your coffee, in your hot cocoa, in your bourbon sour, on your roasted vegetables, in your oatmeal, over your crepes...and of course over a pumpkin pancake or two for good measure. The 2019 batches are exquisite, and you'll easily find a perfect pairing for whatever you're tasting. Don't hesitate to ask for a suggestion, however! We are thick with cooks in this circle, so we can certainly assist your culinary pursuits. How do you best enjoy this amazing tree-created treat? Whatever way you enjoy it, when you taste Tapatree Whole Maple, remember the circles that brought it to your table, and the wonders created by these ancient trees. That is the gift we are bringing to you. Happy Fall-ing, friends! May we all treasure and grow from these gifts, both in the waxing and waning.