This day is fading. I’m watching my littlest babe show surprising rhythm while dancing in the kitchen to some new music. She’s wearing a green leotard, tights that have seen their better days, sparkly black shoes, and a white tutu that is reminiscent of a lamp shade. Her dance partner, a stuffed chihuahua, is in one hand and a flowing blue silk cloth in the other. They are gliding; floating through the candlelit ambience of the space. Unhindered. Unabashed. Experiencing the complete and utter joy of the moment. Oh, these days. These precious days.
Each day dawns with so much potential. It’s up to us what we do with it. It’s up to us to make it just right. Sure, naturally some days flow more effortlessly than others. Some days just groove. I think today was one of those days for me:
This day was particularly full. I started early, stoking both the fires as the morning still carried a chill in the air; winter still hanging on. Once the cookstove was sufficiently hot, I put on the griddle for buckwheat pancakes. And the kettle on for coffee. After breakfast, the dishes were foregone for the more pressing chore of sap collection. The flow of the previous day was intense, and I found myself feeling thankful the mercury dropped below the freezing mark during the night, to slow the flow a bit so that maybe I could catch up. I collected sap for several hours this morning. Ira helped for a time, but he soon grew tired of the task and left it up to me. (My regular sap-collecting partner has family visiting, and they have all been staying in a cabin on the lake. More on that in a bit.) So I took my time.
The morning held the crisp saturated brilliance that often follows intense weather. Late afternoon of the previous day brought howling wind, sideways rain, and the desire to hole up in the dry warmth and comfort of some indoor place. This gorgeous morning was the reward for enduring those blasts. As the sun crept up above the hillsides, and the rays of light reached the forest floor, the quickly evaporating frost rose in a visible steam, as if there was a smoldering fire down under those leaves. Or like the earth was having a nice big exhale.
While dumping sap collection jugs into hauling buckets, I took time to look about myself. Each and every branch and twig in the forest was glistening with a million sparkling droplets of water. The rain saturated leaves on the forest floor were a deep rusty shade of brown, one of my most favorite colors. The sky was a perfect blue. The sound of sandhill cranes carried on the breeze. Through the leafless canopy I could see them circling, trying to gain altitude for another day of migratory flight. They must have paused for the night somewhere nearby, they were so close. As I watched, they circled and called, rising higher and higher. Then taking the shape of a ‘V’, individual birds became one unit and they soared out of sight.
Not long after sap collection was complete (at least for a few hours anyways) I heard the children announce “they’re here! they’re here!” They were excitedly speaking of Eric, his brother, two sisters, and father, who were coming to the farm for the day. They have been visiting for several days, but staying at the nearby State Park since our tiny little cabin in the woods doesn’t leave much room for that many guests. The kids and I had spent several hours at the lake with them the day before, talking and feasting (on wild turkey and pheasant that “PapPap” brought with him from PA) and catching up with each other’s tales. Those hours just flew by and before we knew it, the kids and I needed to get home to the farm… ya know, to keep those home fires burning. So we were all very excited this morning about the prospect of getting to spend another day together. Rare treat, indeed. I think we all relished every minute of it.