Rising with the Sap

tapped tree

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?
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6 Responses to Rising with the Sap

  1. Elaine Naddaff says:

    You learned many valuable lessons at North Country School which have served you well in Vermont and through your maturing years The remarkable ingenuity of those who lived centuries ago is mesmerizing. It is, truly, wonderful that you like the taste of maple sugar candy and know how to release the key ingredient from the New England maple tree. The early morning sunlight is rising in me!

  2. joaneee says:

    Perhaps there should be an analogy between sugar maples and people. If I am correct, the maples begin to reach their maturity at age 40 — as people also begin to. For the next 20-30 years – if the tree is healthy and growing stronger, looking down at its younger saplings – it is ready to give us the best it has to offer. Instead of the younger sap, thin and yet to reach maturity, it may (or may not) be ready to give its all. As with people, the best just never is never seems to make its appearance with some. But for those who are stronger, full blown, taller than others, if trees could be asked, they probably would be willing to share. As people also are.

    But there comes a point when they should be given the rest they deserve. It is then we can gather around them, thinking of them as elders, rougher, weathered, but somehow comforting us as we sit at their feet — hoping we can absorb the light and shade that also encompasses our own lives. It is time to not drain their lifeblood any more. We have gained the best they had to offer. Now as we look up, we see them reaching for the heavens, as we someday will also. Now, for those aging trees, it has become their next chapter: to inspire our lives, and give us the silent times we also need to re-group, to give us shelter in the storms of life.

    Everything in life has a purpose – if we stop long enough to think about it. The brightest of us discover wisdom in all things — and the maple has far more to give us than sugar. We should be thankful for that.

  3. SAIF DEAN says:

    trees are the source and fountain of hope we all should stick to. Trees give us alot and they never let us down and even in winter they shield birds , animals and tiny flies. God grants us the trees and our job , as humans, to keep the.

  4. Phyll says:

    Trees, flowers, fauna and animals deserve our respect and appreciation. They are the Nature and nurturers of the world. For ourselves and our souls. What’s bubbling up in me is the wish for reverence, the world over, for our fellow travelers on the path of life: our natural resources. Our finest friends. Thank you for your lovely blog.

  5. Phyll says:

    Today’s my birthday, so what’s rising up in me are memories of childhood celebrations, young adult dreams and mid-life memories. It’s all going by so fast. So, for today, I’ll enjoy each “moment” and try to remember that it’s the precious moments of our lives that give meaning and purpose to the bigger picture. An attitude of gratitude, empathy for others, and generosity of spirit/heart are the gifts that matter.

  6. Happy Birthday Phyll. What a beautiful date to be born. You must have been infused at birth with the optimism of spring. I so enjoy your expansive & generous spirit. May it be a year of blooming for you! Warmly, Eileen

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