Saturday, March 27, 2021

Brava Sappers


Tis that time of year when the sugar shacks are producing liquid gold,

that ever so pure and sweet maple syrup, natures gift.

It is a long process with days and days of splying, gathering sap,

depending upon the weather. The temperature must be exact

and old timers are constantly checking the weather.

Too cold and trees shut down. Too warm and sap spoils quickly.

Collection is via buckets or hoses; we prefer buckets over plastic hoses

that must be sanitized regularly. Buckets are open to the elements

and what kid hasn’t drunk from one. Tis a right of passage.

I’ve worked a sugar camp for years and there is nothing so exhilarating

being in the bush, working until you collapse onto snow from exhaustion

with the widest smile upon your face and scent of maple syrup in the air.

Not only in the air but it permeates your clothing, that heavenly scent

inhaled by passerby’s in town who smile and nod. They know.

Unfortunately this year I can not participate and it saddens me so.

I relay weather updates hopefully ending with clear sky and warm temps

and silently moan wishing I was there. In my absence I was asked

to bake my secret Ginger Snaps. Spicy and moist, to keep the lads going.

And the lads kept at it, day and night, switching shifts,

even though the virus swept through the community,

those who returned followed strict protocol

until the weather turned dismal and soon buckets

were emptied and sadly the last was boiled off.

T’was a sad maple syrup season this year, weather and nature

battling about; friends kept sheltered, weather was dismal

and those die hards worked dawn to dusk to dawn

seeking to produce that glorious liquid gold.

O to those sappers, brava!

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