Sunny days of gathering, with crisp weather hovering at about the 3 degree Celcius point are wonderful days to be out in the woods. Such days engage my senses. I get to view nature in its purest, capture snapshots of tranquillity as I set out to gather this day’s harvest. Sun glistens off of the snow, light sparkles through icicles. Sap tastes like sweet snowflakes. As I progress, a calming steady rhythm begins -droplets of sap hitting the bottom of buckets. The beat picks up the more buckets I empty – plunk plunk plunk, plunk plunk. It turns into an orchestra of plunks with me as maestro.
As twilight falls, the maple bush burns a mesmerizing pink or gold color. Do not be fooled by the warm colors though: there was nothing warm about the biting temperature!
Our path winds along the side of a field, then cuts into the forest and climbs the slope of the ridge. The path curls through the trees, strategically passing by stands of maples for easier collection in the early spring when snow drifts hinder bucket brigading efforts that our traditional maple sap collection process involves. The warmer temperatures in early March certainly had us fooled – after I motivated 4 family members to help tap some trees the temperatures plummeted to lows of -20C some nights. Getting to take in views like this help make up for my over-eagerness I hope!