This morning--a late winter day--or early spring day (I guess it could be either)--as the sun sparkled on the deep drifts of snow still outside my window, I was listening to Copland's Appalachian Spring, as I read the bio-oped that appeared in a recent issue of TIME regarding the Dalai Lama. Both Copland and the Dali Lama caused me to think of you. I first had my attention drawn to Appalachian Spring during an early visit Janet and I made to your first home in Marquette years ago. You had it playing as we sat in your front room listening and talking before breakfast--I went right out and bought a recording. It has since become one of my very favorite compositions.
Last spring, Janet and I made the opportunity to drive the length of the Appalachian Blue Ridge Parkway from Great Smokey Mountains National Park to Harper's Ferry. We were too early for the Rhododendron (and the multitude of tourists that go with them!) but the Dogwood and the Eastern Redbud were in full splendor.
Likewise, it was you who introduced me to meditation. Although I have not as yet become a faithful practitioner, I have been witness to the impact that meditation and Buddhism have had on you--my good and long time friend. The TIME article moved me. I hope that you have read it--or will. That the Dalai Lama has been able to find such inner peace and balance despite the violence, turbulence, injustice, exile, and seeming hopelessness for his cause experienced these last six decades is a powerful testament to his faith--and an example to all who are touched by him.
Yesterday, we were able to begin our maple syrup season. Our day was calm with clear sky, perfect temperature, and sunshine. Jake and I got started about noon and had a hundred taps in before breaking for lunch about 1:30 PM. Chris, Magdalen, Jen, and Oscar, together with two people who had been on the morning dog sled run (one being a former field hand from 20 years ago), descended on us as we were ending our break. Everybody got involved--we had drills and sleds enough to equip three tapping teams--and the remaining taps were in before 4:00 PM. Even four-year-old Oscar enjoyed pushing a sled with bag hangers for one of the teams. The afternoon ended with cookies, beer, and high spirits on the bench, stumps, and rocking chairs behind the sugar house--enjoying the company, the dogs, and the equinox sun.
Today we expect a heavy sap flow and we may be boiling before the day is through. This will go on now for about a month. We'd love it if you and ZZ could get over for a night or two to share the experience with us.