Maple syrup season is almost over, but before it came to a close my cousin talked me into tapping a few trees on my property late in the season. I collected 22 gallons of sap in 1 week and with the buckets overflowing I had to boil it down. I decided to drive to one of my Amish neighbors that owned a sap house and asked if I could check out their operation. We chatted for a bit and I let them know I collected a few gallons of sap this year. Their daughter invited me to bring over the sap I collected that evening to have it boiled down. So I thought to myself, “What better way to spend my Thursday night than chilling out with an Amish Family?”. I ran home and picked up the sap and spent the next 2 hours having an amazing conversation with two Amish teenagers.
Our conversation was held in a sap house supported by what appeared to be just a few nails, with water dripping everywhere from condensation and a huge fire pit that heated the sap. The smell was amazing. Two other small children ran around barefoot, bodies covered in mud, laughing with smiles on their faces. There were no lights other than flashlights, no cell phones distracting our conversation, no tv’s blaring. We chatted about their milking operation, shared past season’s hunting stories, gardening and raising meat, all while the sun set, leaving us in darkness. It radiated something genuine, something simple. Eye contact was made, and the attention on the individual whom was speaking was authentic. There was no over-stimulation, no appointments to be hurried too, no text messages, no sport practices… no worries, we were just kids.
With a 1/2 gallon of maple syrup in my hands, the conversation finished at 8 pm with the 12 year old boy saying, “Well, now I have to go help with chores, hopefully I’ll see you around,” and his 14 year old sister putting out the fire.
The Amish lifestyle is very unique especially in today’s world, and while I have no intention to convert, I feel there is so much to be taken away from their way of living. I ask myself the question…Why is our way of living so fast paced? And what’s the hurry? Where are we headed?
Why are so many people in a rush? A rush to where? Meetings, practices, clubs, go,go,go… How many families are having a sit down home cooked dinner each night or have 30 minutes of quality conversation each day before bed? What impact does this have on children and their parents’ health?
Did you know that 6.4 million or 11% of kids ages 4-17 are diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC?
I also found this interesting……
Kim John Payne conducted a study in which he simplified the lives of children with attention deficit disorder. Within four short months 68% went from being clinically dysfunctional to clinically functional. The children also displayed a 37% increase in academic and cognitive aptitude, an effect not seen with commonly prescribed drugs like Ritalin.
Did you know that 44.3 million people suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder according to NIMH ECA Data?
What are we doing to ourselves?
After working 50-60+ hours a week for your entire career, ruining our bodies along the way, ignoring the hobbies you love, and not maintaining quality relationships, where is the finish line in your life? The hard part for many people to understand is, there isn’t a finish line. Retirement, financial security, 10 lbs lost, 1 more club to join, doesn’t create fulfillment. Health, family, love and time in nature create fulfillment, except many of us lose that vision along the way. In the end these are the only things that matter.
Get outside, get some mud on your face, love harder, stand for something you believe in, be a rebel and make some noise, surround yourself with individuals whom you aspire to be like, surround yourself with individuals who achieve to grow in life, get outside your comfort zone more, slow down, laugh harder, eat great food and take a look around being completely present…..
Find the simple life and you will find happiness.
**This article was first published in the Waterville Times**