Neighbor and guest blogger Laurie Best Silva writes:
Typical conversation at the Silva home before heading up to the Sugarhouse:
Why don’t you just “hop in?” (the car)
Because.. I don’t want to “hop in.”
Because I want to walk up.
(Because I need to walk up. Because it gives me a moment to transition from a day of work elsewhere into the world of tall pines, generous old maples, fresh mountain air, and anticipation.)
It’s all part of sugaring season.
Falls Brook Lane is a little world unto itself and in my opinion, taking the trip by foot is the best way to experience it – the sounds, the smells, the night sky, the peace.
The brook is in its glory in the late spring. It rushes and tumbles and laps at its partially frozen banks. It provides the background music to the sugar ascent.
The dirt road itself is either ice or mud depending on how the day has gone. If it’s ice, the challenge is to hang on and try not to slip backwards. If it’s mud, slipping is not a problem, but sinking is – and the trick is to walk over some nice snow or wet grass right at the end of your little climb to clean the bottom of your boots.
Our family lives on the “valley floor” as some of us have affectionately named our part of Nebraska Valley Road. We are down through the woods and more out in the open, but on a day when the sap is running, we can sometimes hear the vacuum pump as it does its happy work up the hill.
Other days however, it’s a mystery. We have no idea whether they have decided to boil right away, or wait a bit. And if they are boiling (sometimes we can smell the wood fire or catch the “smoke signals”), how long will they be boiling? Are they maybe finishing up? It is all part of the sugaring game. Of course, we could call and find out the status, or they could call down for help, but sometimes, we just like the surprise.
So we head up with a few possible intentions:
to see if there is any action in the sugarhouse,
to just say hello and check in and let them know we are around,
to get to work.
And the general rule we have for ourselves is to arrive ready to go.
So when I walk the road and round the corner
if it is nighttime, and if I am lucky,
the windows will be glowing, and the sparks will be flying,
and the steam will be rising,
because the fire is stoked and the sap is boiling and the syrup is bubbling.
And we assess the situation: any crisis? anything broken? anything spilled?
How’s everyone doing? just fine? tired? hungry?
And we get into the flow
And we find our places
and we enter into the happy little world of friends and work and maple goodness.
And the sparks fly and the steam rises and maybe there is a little jig or a song
and when it’s time to go
you say your goodbyes and start your
“midnight walk” back down the slippery road.
And you yourself are little sticky and a little full of sugar
and you yourself are happy
and you hear the singing brook
and you feel the cold night air
and you can’t help but count your
many blessings once again.
NEWS FLASH: The 2015 crop is in.