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.