The Frog Run
The tail end of the sugaring season in New England is called the “frog run,” when pools of snowmelt teem with frogs and the last run of sap good for making syrup flows from the maple trees. For John Elder, a longtime resident of Vermont, a professor of English, and a man at midlife, this moment is a metaphor of loss and resurgence.
In The Frog Run, Elder describes how he found a way to balance his passions for literature and for the outdoors by building a sugarhouse with his sons in the Vermont woods. For Elder, who also writes in this book about the resurgence of New England forests and about his life as a reader—moving from the game of Go to the Psalms and Bashō—the frog run is a time to savor and celebrate the fleeting beauties of his family’s place on earth.
Moving and elegant, The Frog Run is a testimony to the value of embracing what seems lost.
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Praise and Prizes
“The future of sugaring may depend on people like John Elder, who embrace the covenant with nature that sugaring represents. . . . Elder’s memoir explores the ethos behind stewardship of the land. Whether his family stays or moves on, he believes the real issue is love of the earth and pleasure in its distinctive characteristics and seasons.”
“The Frog Run has the tang and sweetness of maple syrup over hot cider over snow. . . . John Elder knows there is a long hiatus of the soul between the end of winter and spring’s real opening, he has read widely and diversely and—unlike many—he attributes rather than appropriates, and what’s even better, he’s a pleasure to read.”
“Elegant . . . Required reading for anyone interested in the literature of place. For this reader—a California transplant, ears full of spring song, learning to keep time with the rhythms of New England—John Elder’s words capture what it might mean to call this place home.”
“John Elder’s insights, in which he both honors and explores Vermont tradition through his clear, graceful prose, make reading The Frog Run a consistently rewarding experience.”