Sugaring season

It’s that time again. And I love it.  
Steam and fire, wind and sleet

This shack’s where in- and outside meet

Before this gift here’s at its finish will

Meet heat and coal to quite diminish

All from a boil that allows the clear

And cold run sap to disappear

Up through the air as tiny drops

Float up and up (to the treetops?)

Which leave behind the golden stick 

That boils and boils from thin to thick

And ends up in my coffee, tea

(And fingers, quite in spite of me)

Oh for the sake of sweet so fine

I labor here to make it mine.
But before the sugar shack I have

To make my way ’round yard and back

Where buckets wait in mystery

With treasures held for me to see

I peek inside each one with great

Big hope as I anticipate

How much? How much? lies there within

That bucket; is it thick or thin

With sap, oh tree, are you ready to

Share what’s yours with me, are you?

Is it time? Is it now?

(I’m a child who’s waited all year through

For this present once again that’s new!)
Emptying time. 
I grab the buckets, lift, unload

The metal’s cold, my muscles groan.

I set my face

Quicken my pace

 Through mud, grass, leaves, and ice or snow

Forth and back through taps and trees

I wonder how the count will be

Will I run out of storage space

Or need to slow my boiling pace

For smaller yields and lesser gains?

No matter what, I’ll take these pains

For nectar sweet as honeybees’

 Maple syrup time requires of me.
 

And when I start to tire or feel

The weight of work I do so real

I stop and breathe the crisp new breath

Of spring’s onset and winter’s death

The air is fresh the work is good:

This mix of fire, sap, steam, and wood

And all this bounty’s yielded up

In this li’l yard from nature’s cup

The gold brown gift on counter sits

For king or peasant present fit

A taste so good, pure, and unique

It needs no help, no aid, no tweak
But to watch the boil, this takes a bit

Of preference, here I do admit

To decide how much to load the fire 

And when, how much, in order to

Each facet must be much thought through

Or not; sometimes I’ll let it be 

And not take things so seriously

There’s oft a rhythm there’s oft some fun

(A time for each thing ‘neath the sun!)

To sit, to work, to watch, to try

And delight in time that passes by  
The process by which it comes about

I just can’t say enough about

‘Cause I get to stand and watch and wait

And walk and load, elucidate

And wonder, move and load again

(And again and again and again and again.)

How many jobs are under heaven

Where work’s the dough and time’s the leaven

That allows for a product 

From patience and grace

Quite without all attempts to quicken the pace?

I’m the watchman, the gatherer, the participant here

But transforming magic? Quite beyond me, that’s clear.
  

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11 thoughts on “Sugaring season

  1. I love the lines “And ends up in my coffee, tea / (And fingers, quite in spite of me).” I can’t help but think (lovingly) of Winnie the Pooh with his paws in the honey jar.

    I hope the syrup’s overflowing and the joy of its production stays sweet within you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t do that here, so I envy you for it. 🙂 It seems like it would be fun, and a great way to share life with the trees.

    That swing in the background looks like the perfect place to enjoy a cup of naturally-sweetened coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be, but I usually enjoy plenty of those while in the building literally watching the sap boil. And maple syrup is undoubtedly the best coffee sweetener there is. 🙂

      And yes, the trees! Beautiful, life-giving, wondrous trees. Because we burn so much and so many different types of wood in the firebox for the evaporator, and because you really start to learn afresh which ones burn in which ways, this year I found myself marveling all over again at those qualities of the trees.

      I like your line, it resonates with me, and it is so true that it is a “great way to share life with the trees.” Not to mention my children, myself, my husband, the returned birds, and my Creator! Oh – and now you a little. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this, Amy! Your writing gets better and better! I so wish i were there! Save a little syrup for me when I come into town to sip some tea! Keep it up!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our neighbors were sugaring a few weeks ago. One of the many joys of spring this delightful nectar! Your writing pulls us in and expresses the joy of doing simple things in partnership with the natural world. Isn’t it amazing what the trees will give!?

    Peace
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is. It’s a wonder to me every time. In an age where it’s too easy to disconnect from all things creation/not humanly contrived, I’m grateful for these (sweet) reminders of how things have been and continue to be here quite in spite of us. Thanks for your comment about being “pulled in.” It’s especially meaningful because the process is so consuming I’m glad it splashed over a little onto you… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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