Maple Syrup

Made it back to Decorah just in time to catch maple syrup, tapping trees, the magic of that. Drinking sap out of the bucket, the wonder of it, right from inside the tree, something almost holy about it and maybe not even almost. A sacrament. The wondrous symphony of empty buckets, each ringing with its own note as the drops of sap fell and rung, the quiet chaos of rhythm and soft bells. The smell of the undergrowth, leaves, fertile things that have not seen the sun since December, hidden under the dense pack of snow until just a few weeks ago.

And the magnificent boil next door, carrying heavy 5-gallon buckets all the way down the hill, a long walk, arms aching, in the distance clouds of steam rising, the smell of woodsmoke, heat. Gathering around it, something sacred about that too, the alchemy of it all, distilling the lifeblood of trees into something more concentrated, dense. Dipping a tin cup into the boiling sap, again the feeling of a sacrament, communion wine, something - this is my blood, which is given up for you, do this in memory of me.

Then the meal afterwards, that rare feeling of an unexpected and holy supper prepared from simple and delicious ingredients, the feeling of being in the company of other spirits, family, connectedness, fulfillment, contentment. I came home that night feeling so, so, so good, so full in the best possible way, hard to explain except the warm glow of some satisfaction, comfort, deeply sated. 

 

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