Ithaca, NY, March 2015

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cabin at night with light in the windows

I felt newly appreciative of every non-collapsing surface upon which I had ever placed my feet.  I was walking in the snow to the cabin in the dark after a drive from home.  We got there before 9pm but the sky was inky black and there was no moon yet. As my eyes adjusted, I could see scattered stars across the velvety sky. It was truly beautiful. Papa, Cleverly, and Really went up ahead as I unpacked the car and started walking with Fiercely and Truly. Evidently, there had been a lot of snow and then some warmer weather because the snow had a crust on top. The walk to the cabin, which goes up a hill, through some brush, and across a field, usually takes under ten minutes.  This walk took much longer.  The walking was tricky, perhaps treacherous, and a nice challenge after the car ride to get there.  Each step was uncertain – would it support my weight or would it break? It reminded me of the legendary San Joaquín mud in Honduras. The kids there could negotiate the muddy hill paths in flip-flops but more than once my own missteps had me knee-deep in mud. I saw it happen to horses there, even. And now, here in upstate New York, on a snowy night in early March, the crust would give after several easy steps and I was up to my knees in snow. It is disorienting to have such difficulty in a skill – walking – that I had mastered over 40 years ago!  By carefully picking my way towards the cabin, I managed to stay upright and hold on to the items I was carrying.  Papa had gone ahead and lit the lamps in the cabin. I had a view of the dark shape of our sweet cabin with warm lamplight in the windows. Black outlines of trees surrounded it, and above was the vast dark sky with glittering stars. It was so beautiful. It looked like a fairy tale house in Sweden, Poland, Canada…. I hope we see such things when we travel and can also appreciate what is here now.

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Those were my thoughts when we got to the cabin that night. The trip was so nice with the changing weather.  It was maple sugar season so we tapped a few trees again. The twins felt the need to run outside naked in the snow, and so they did!  We had the fire going and ate wonderfully cozy meals. There was some sledding. We played board games and did puzzles. I considered how this may be our last winter weather for nearly two years.  I love winter, so I am especially enjoying this one.  We walked gingerly on the pond since it was not frozen as solid as last March.  I took fewer pictures than usual!  We went to town to the thrift stores, and also went to a Thai restaurant and ate and talked about how soon, when it comes to Thai food, we may be eating the real deal!!   IMG_3981 IMG_3977

L- Really with buckets to collect maple syrup, R – cabin in the snow, you can see snow sliding off upstairs dormer windows!

Our neighbors doubled their maple syrup operation to 300 trees this year.  They have a sugar shack with several pans for heating the sap and condensing it using wood fire as well as gas.  They expect to make about 30 gallons this year, which is about 1200 gallons of sap!  They had a party one night and we went.  There were lots of people walking through the mud to the sugar shack, the good smell of wood smoke in the night air, musicians playing folk music with guitar and banjo and stand-up bass, and an outstanding potluck.  We stayed until Truly fell asleep on my lap then we walked back in the snow to the cabin.  We gave the neighbors our sap, maybe 20 gallons, and they gave us a quart of maple syrup!  So we didn’t boil our own this year, but we ended up with some local maple syrup and a great night with the neighbors.

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One night, I awoke to a loud noise and the cabin shaking on its piers. A load of snow had slid off the roof!  The kids had pointed it out more than once over the days we were there but I only heard it that once.  It made me wonder what happens to the cabin as it goes through the seasons since we are not always there.

That was our trip to the cabin in March.

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