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Smallwood - Sustenance and Soil

James Loney
Posted 12/10/21

Sustenance and SoilDecember 10 - With astounding speed that steaming turkey of Thanksgiving is now but a fleeting memory and already we look aghast at the calendar of the dying year. Three weeks …

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Smallwood - Sustenance and Soil


December 10 - With astounding speed that steaming turkey of Thanksgiving is now but a fleeting memory and already we look aghast at the calendar of the dying year. Three weeks until New Year’s? By 3:00 PM only a few shallow sunbeams slice aslant through the naked boughs of the forest.
During long snowy nights a few of us get up to throw on one more log or gaze out the window at blue moonbeams on the water. Kind Reader! Do you remember the summer solstice on June 20th this year? It was a long day but a cloudy, blustery and rainy one, steamy and hot, as if we were living in tropical New Orleans.
What can we say. Every day now is a silent remembrance how short the green life really is, how short every year of our lives, how quickly we like the shaking leaves fall sear and scatter to the ground, our lives the humus and soil for lives beyond our own.
This week, on December 5th, Smallwoodians Janie and Marvin Ronik celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Fifty green Junes and fifty snowy Decembers together! Please reach out and congratulate Janie and Marvin, theirs is an amazing milestone! We wish Janie and Marvin many more years together.
One ongoing theme of this column in this time of Covid has been the profound and systemic changes occurring in Mongaup Valley and Smallwood as the rivulets of the pandemic fan out and percolate into every aspect of our lives. Some people have chosen to sell their suddenly valuable cabins and depart for other, less snowy regions; many newcomers have flooded back in. This change has caused a lot of turbulence. How dare the Johnny-come-latelies upset our wonted practices? How dare the old-timers resist the pull of change and modernity necessary to a really vibrant communal life?
We human beings aren’t good with change although (truth be told) we always profess to want it. When change actually occurs, we resist it tooth and nail and appeal to memory as the ultimate arbiter and measuring stick of things to come.
The people who left were amazing, but so are those coming in. A few weeks ago I met Jessica Weiss, a recent transplant to Smallwood from Maryland with her husband Marty. Jessica heads growingSOUL, an organization devoted to sustainable agriculture and to assisting people and communities suffering from hunger. growingSOUL (think: ‘growing soil’) transforms food normally discarded by producers and sellers into delicious and nutritious food for those in need.
Between July 2020 and May 2021, during this pandemic, growingSOUL helped feed over three million—3,000,000!—people in NYC, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, for which the organization received the NYC Mayoral Service Recognition Award last year. A new Smallwoodian, Jessica is anxious to work with us to help Sullivan County become a beacon of community wellbeing and sustainability.
Please reach out to Jessica if interested in her life work at growingSOULorg@gmail.com or come see her at SoupySoup @ Sticky Fingers Delectables, where she and growingSOUL are now partners.


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