By the time you read this, the sap will have almost finished rising in the sugar maple trees. New England and Canada are the major producers of this sweet nectar. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. That’s why it’s called “New England gold.” I first tapped maples and boiled sap at age 12, as a student at North Country School, near Lake Placid, New York. The trees, naked in the dawning of Spring, matched my youthful vulnerability.
When I trudge through snow from tree to tree, emptying buckets, I connect not only to each tree, but to the spirit of trees; not only with my cold fingers, but to the sound of migrating snow geese, flying north above the lacy web of limbs. I can feel the life force of energy surging, pulsing and urging forth the season of Spring. I am reminded again of its meaning.
Today, most sugaring is done by a network of tubes, attached to each tree like telephone wires. But they are no longer the narrow tubes vectoring whatever each tree offers up on its own. While scientists have not found evidence to negate the new technology, it functions like a vacuum, sucking vast amounts of long-range health of maple trees.
I want to defend these quiet arboreal victims from being drained of their lifeblood. Trees are the living legacy of seasons over time. They remind us of the growth in each of us, of the ebb and flow of energy, every year, every day, every minute of our lives. Let us respect these gentle giants, and take no more than they willingly give. The rise of sap inspires renewed energy to flow in us, like curiosity, hope and love.
- What’s rising up in you these days?