Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lifeblood of Trees

Frosty nights, tepid days, snowbanks retreating from tree roots, dissolving into drifting mist…this is what coaxes the lifeblood from trees…

The freezing nights lift water from the roots of the drowsy sugar maple - like a sharp intake of breath caused by the cold. There the water mixes with stored sugars in the tree. A warm day expels the sweetened sap like a sigh…

All through the maple woods, thin spiles drip sap into metal cans and friends gather to help collect the clear liquid that fire will turn to gold.

Spring is simply not spring without a trip to the maple sugar camp, where wood smoke mingles with sweet sugary steam, drawing people....condensing community. As sap bubbles and evaporates into syrup, the solitude of winter bubbles and evaporates into the sweetness of laughter and camaraderie.


Like the tree, we also store our sugar...last year's gold...dispensing it throughout summer, fall, winter with care, trying to make it last. Then...one day...we tip the bottle upside down and the last drop is gone.

But spring arrives and we dare to dream of decadence again...glistening maple cream and warm maple syrup...then, finally...FINALLY...we welcome, with a deep, deep sigh, the first taste of spring.

2 comments:

Jill Zaheer said...

Beautiful. Not too many trees producing maple syrup in new york city, but- sure signs of the new season are springing up everywhere! Love your poetic words- lifeblood of our language.

Diane said...

what beautiful writing Deborah. Can't say much more except how fine a writer you are.