The path was icy and uneven and eventually became narrow. At that point Michele sat on a bench while Steven continued onward. We have walked in the grove several times (Steven more than Michele) and gather peace and spiritual strength each time.
It is wonderful to contemplate the sacred event that took place here, that of the Heavens parting and Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. As we spent an hour in the grove it was quiet and peaceful. What a blessing for us to live so close to it. The days have been sunny and each morning we see the sun hit the tops of the trees and hear the birds singing as we step out our back door. On this day when were walking, Steven saw a deer. If you look closely in this picture (below) you may see it. Our very first time to walk in the Sacred Grove was the second day we were here in Palmyra. Our mission president and his wife, the Hemingways, took us there. We walked and conversed quietly from time to time and then the Hemingways left us alone for a time. I (Michele) felt the Spirit literally cover me like a warm blanket. Then, after praying and pondering, Steven gently grabbed my arm and pointed. There, 50 yards away, were three deer watching us. The Hemingways were approaching and we pointed out the deer to them just as the deer bounded away. We shared with the Hemingways, that during spiritually significant times in Elder Watts’ life, he often has a special experience with nature, particularly with animals. The Hemingways told us that they have walked in the grove on numerous occasions for the past 2 /12 years and have never seen deer. It helped us realize once again that God is mindful of us, even when we are far from home.
It is maple syrup time here in New York. When the Smith Family owned their 100 acres, they cleared much of the land, but left forty acres of woodlands. They tapped approximately 1200 to 1500 maple trees in a single season to produce an average of 1,000 pounds of sugar. They would have used wooden buckets, rather than the metal ones you see in this picture (below), but otherwise, they would have harvested maple sap the same way it's done today and then boiled it into syrup.If you look closely at the above picture you can see the buckets hanging from the maple trees gathering sap. They will be left on the trees for several weeks.