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May 1, 2012

Volunteer Reflects on Hopewell Community and Past Season

There was a noticeable lull following maple sapping season this spring at Hopewell. With the full-time task of gathering and boiling maple sap behind us, we turned back to our regular daily activities, both glad for the reprieve of mucking through the swampy woods of late winter and missing the meditative calm of spending entire mornings and afternoons beneath the trees.

We are floating now in the tranquil state between the urgent collecting of sapping season and the fury of summer gardening. Perhaps that is why, for those of us who have not been gathering and emptying buckets on Hopewell's acreage for the past decade, last month's celebratory pancake lunch came as a bit of a surprise. Everyone filed in for made-from-scratch flapjacks, crisp bacon strips from pigs raised a ten minute walk from the Inn, a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and – of course – Hopewell's own maple syrup, the smell of which greeted us as we entered the foyer.Norman, Hopewell's resident sapping expert, read a long list of thank you's to the residents, volunteers, and staff who helped by trudging through the woods and labeling bottles. One by one, we walked to the front of the dining area to receive our tokens of thanks: a still-warm bottle of maple syrup and a hearty handshake from Norm.

This moment encapsulated the spirit of appreciation that thrives at Hopewell, the way that all members of the community cheer on the others for their contributions. The more one struggles to give, the more enthusiastically we show our gratitude.

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