I guess my impending 40th birthday has mad me think about my birthdate and year. 1968 is a foriegn time to me. People will tell me that it is cool that I was born in the 60s. As if I might have some shred of memory from it. Trust me, I don't. I can hardly recall what I'd done the day prior. Now you are hoping I can give you some insight to a decade that I existed in for 23 months? Good luck with that!
In March, the Farmer's Calendar reads:
"Herb and his pair of oxen are labouring through the deep wet snow of mid-March, the woodsled with the great sap tank bumping and sliding clumsily around and between and against the rough maples--a tedious, heart-thumping business. On every trunk of the steep sugarbush hang the wooden buckets. Down in the hollow the sap house is wreathed in steam.
Uncle brushes the rotten snow off the flat rock that makes a natural seat under a young maple. Herb has carved his initials and date on it--HG 1911--and I put mine underneath his. Uncle watches quiet;y, smoking his pipe and taking the morning, before going down to the sap house again.
There was nothing special about this morning, one of many that would follow in quiet succession until the sugaring was done. That I was not to see the grove again for fifty years, I did not know. But now, fifty years has passed--almost to the day, to the hour-- since that morning--and I am hear alone. There are no buckets, no sap house, no business to be finished. But here is Uncle's rock, snug against the full-grown maple, and the bark thickened initials that I alone, perhaps, can read.
Fifty years ago I found no wonder in that lovely spring morning, but I do in this. Most of our lives are spent with memories of things to which we may never return-- doors forever locked. But I have returned and time has unlocked this door for me."
My grandarents had an Old Farmer's Almanac every year when I was up there to see them. They weren't serious farmers, but Pop-pop had a big garden that ate up a large side lot off the backyard. We grew tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, caulifower, broccoli, rhubarb, herbs, etc. We had shicken wire all around and old work gloves posted on the sticks stuck into the ground to hold up the fencing. The gloves were to keep the deer out. I'm not sure that they worked. Certainly they did not keep the rabbits out.
Still, it was like a farm in that every morning we would go out and work together in the garden. He also let me drive the riding mower on his lap. Do I remember it? Not very well at all. But I do remember the way I felt spending time with my beloved grandfather.
It is funny, the doors that time unlocks, whether it is in returning to an old site that meant something (even if it didn't seem so at the time) or just opening old, dusty memories...