Musings in the Maples

Written on 9/18, after a road-trip from St Albans, Vermont back to the Capitol Region of New York.

Musings in the Maples
by mk hubbard

I love that the whole state seems to bleed syrup
instead of blood
— roots dive deep into the Earth, & maples are very strong.
The people there view the golden liquid as the nectar of life,
replacing other golds, like honey & precious metal.

The trees are lined with taps, connecting forests together,
a web of dependence on the sugary substance that oozes from their cores.
The farmlands are large, and double yellow lined roads with their higher speed limits, still wind & curve forcing you to slow down,
to make you look around.

Like the maple liquid itself, the drips of sweetness come at their own time, as you travel further & further North…

The mountain top with its trees changing in drips to fall foliage as the sun sets over them, reminds you of the snow to come–
And the ghost of chairlifts swing in the summer heat, waiting to be filled with people, excited for another sugary substance, although this time a powder.
As the Moon rises over the trees, it illuminates the change in a sadder way than the sun does– reminding you that seasons changing have nothing to do with the whims of what we as humans want, but what the Earth demands.

Saturday Doings

The weather FINALLY was below 90 degrees today! We seemed to dip into Fall this morning with a small chill, hinting in the air. Ryan exclaimed “Flannel Weather!” when we left our apartment to go to Target. The aisles screamed at us that the seasons were indeed changing, with summer clothes spread in clearance racks across the floor & “Game Day” snack ideas.

Our purchases today were small apartment items, including a shoe rack and water filters. So naturally, I ended up in the makeup aisle at some point, and treated myself to $10 dollar eye palette. Ryan and I have been brainstorming ideas about starting a video channel to go with my blog– but I did get a little stage fright at the thought. I would have to practice or map out my videos, but as long as it goes with my theme. I could read aloud my poetry, or try a new eye makeup, or unbox a subscription box…all thoughts we’ve been thinking about.

I circle back to the change of seasons in this post because Fall continues to be my favorite time of year. I feel most creative around this time, I love the colors, activities, flavors, and promise of a new year approaching. It’s truly magical to live in this area this time of year, & we plan on sharing as much of the ~ Fall Foliage~  as one account can handle. There is a crispness that comes with the apples, a sweetness with the pumpkins, a coolness with the aura of spirits that truly only  comes once a year.

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Why I Write

I used to keep a diary when I was little because I thought it would be interesting for people to read when I was dead. Morbid much? But younger me was FASCINATED with archeology, and believed that history lived in the every day. My favorite series of books when I was in elementary school were the Dear America series, and I copied that style. “Dear Diary”  littered the openings of my entries. Diaries became a little spacey for me throughout high school & college, but I do have entries, and I keep one more consistently now. I use them as reference points for myself, and find them important for self growth, but I hope to leave couple full ones behind.

I also write because of my love of words. I am a fan of the dictionary, and try to constantly expand my vocabulary by looking up possible synonyms. I feel at peace while reading or writing because I get to be exposed to the things that give me joy. Even while discussing topics of horror, or politics, or perhaps something boring–having the right words around me allows me to not feel the panic of the content.

I believe that writing is important because it connects you to others. It is my chosen medium, but there are aspects of writing that leaks everywhere which makes me feel that more appreciate of writers in general. A favorite song needs to be written, a poem needs the right syntax, theories & philosophical questions can be discussed across educational spectrums. Words impact everyone, and allows for me to feel closer to other human’s & their experiences.

Finally, I write to prove to myself that I am creative. I often feel like I have these fragments or beginnings of ideas, but the need for them to be perfect will end up with me not starting. Writing gets me into the mindset of “Just Do It,” since words do not write themselves.

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My Current Projects

I tend to want to start EVERYTHING— but have a hard time finishing the tasks. Perhaps it’s bad follow through, or perhaps a need for it to be perfect that causes me to abort a project, or even better, a combination,  but it has been something I have been dealing with all my life.

I had a professor talk to us about the importance of  telling others your goals:“You are more likely to complete something if you can verbalize & visualize the outcome,” he lectured.

Yet the concept struck a chord. So here’s a small list of the projects/post ideas I have. If I write it out, it counts!

  1. I am currently visiting ice cream shops with Ryan #icecreamquest. It has been a really fun way to get out of the apartment—but we had to start spacing the ice cream stops out more so that we don’t end up becoming sick of it.
  2. I have been researching skin care routines– so many products! I have a green tea and/or tea tree allergy (not positive ) which makes finding products time consuming. I aim to compile a list of products for sensitive skin.
  3. I am partaking in the GoodReads Reading Challenge. Basically, you take the number of books you read last year, and add 3. I read a lot last year (57) so my goal this year is 60. I have some catching up to do this month & plan on posting the books I ended up enjoying.


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My Summers Growing Up

I am a “nerd”. Nerd can be defined in the following 2 ways:

  1. boringly studious
  2. a single minded expert in a particular technical field

I hit both of these marks on numerous different topics, but most specifically, about writing and music. I can spend hours researching genres, composers or topics just for the fun of it, and my GoodReads to-read-list will never be fully read. These activities are solitary, and I like being alone—very different than lonely.

I grew up playing the classical violin– another solitary activity. I was under the age of 5 when I started, so I had to grow physically with the instrument. When you move from one size of a violin to another, your world shifts all over again. The finger spaces feel like mountains. My violin teacher believed in repetition until memorization.  These thoughts were to help combat the growing pains. If I practiced enough then I would have the right combination of fingering and bowing in my head, so as to focus on the other factors shifting around–such as the size of the violin, or someone in the audience sneezing etc etc.

To this day, I can hum to you a “practice spot.” We would rehearse the same bar of music for an hour straight–never more than a single line. I would be assigned an etude, a scale and maybe if I sounded okay, she would give me a little excerpt of pieces to get ahead on. She believed in muscle memory, and believed that nerves could be ironed out by preparation. Aspects of this way of thinking can be beneficial, and I was a nervous player. She slowly helped me to see that I could prepare, and if I felt prepared, I was not such a nervous wreck in other situations.

It was the year before high school. I had practiced so hard, and done everything I thought I could and…I had wanted to be moved up to the Youth Orchestra, desperately. They were going to Carnegie Hall that year. All of my other violin friends made it. But… I had botched the audition. A full year of work, decided in less than 5 minutes. My bow hit the string weird from the start. Everything I had practiced seemed to go out the window. I had practiced the opening over and over, and it didn’t matter. I was not playing Mozart, I was playing some notes I strung together. They gave me the sight reading, and it was like I didn’t know how to read music. I left the audition feeling smaller than when I started the violin.

So it came as a small reprieve, a small grace that I was going away for camp that summer. I didn’t need to be around the disappointed gaze of my violin teacher—her other students had made it, and somehow it felt like I hadn’t prepared enough. Point Counter Point was in Vermont–no cell service, a small cabin with roommates and it was on a lake. I learned viola that year, and made friendships, and skipped practice to read on the dock. I was fully 14, and it didn’t matter here what orchestra I was in at home, as long as I practiced here–I got to make a fresh start.

The following summer, another one of my violin teacher’s students ended up attending the music camp as well. It is such a vital part to feel connected to other youths who liked doing similar things, so I understand now why my violin teacher pushed us both to attend. I believe it comes back to the idea of being alone but never lonely–we were never lonely while playing. Tara ended up being placed in my cabin. Even though we had grown up playing concerts together, we never really interacted outside of that scope. We both found out we had made it into the Youth’s first violin section, so we practiced together, we complained together–in short, we became lifelong friends.

Tara and I ended up at 2 more music camps together– a total of 12 weeks of our lives together spent at very, very nerdy places. We sat and calculated how much time per day we were spending on the violin– it was around 9 hours, during our summer vacations. We really loved it, but it was also a lot of the experiences we got to have, both playing and not playing the violin, that helped shape our friendship.

After high school graduation, neither of us majored in violin. We both still kept it somehow in our lives though, to this day.  For my wedding present, Tara sent me tickets to see the Philadelphia Orchestra because Joshua Bell, my idol was playing. She lives in a different state, but I cried because all these years later, we still are thinking about the violin and the strings of friendship that formed during band camps.  It was Ryan’s first classical concert, and it was wonderful to be able to show him this side of me, but I missed being able to lean in and say things only fellow classical musicians know. I missed Tara.

As Joshua Bell was done playing, the audience truly went wild. The conductor had pointed out earlier that there were students here from the camp that Tara and I had attended all those summers ago. I let the emotion of aging hit me, but then I truly let the gratitude seep in. We got to be in those seats once, and we had truly made the most of band camp–we ended up being big nerds, and we were okay with that in each other. We had found what it truly meant to be friends.


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