Through my twenties, when I struggled to figure out where – if anywhere – I fit into this world, I envied trees because they knew their place. It didn’t matter the tree as long as it was deciduous and healthy. I don’t know why I never considered being a spruce or balsam fir. I envied trees to the point of feeling bitter about my lot as an aimless college grad.
Forty-plus years hence, having lived in this one place for all this time, I don’t envy trees so much as bask in their presence. Tragically, some of the elders have died. Maggie I broke off limb by limb and we cut the rest of her down. Maggie III blew over in July’s wind storm. The Foreman up on Penn Station is nearly gone; the Palace Guard died a few years ago. It’s hard to walk past him. The Hillbillies live on ledge but they are thriving. It must be the moonshine. The Tiger looks well.
It has been several eternities since the last post. Collectively we are buzzing with information and angst regarding Covid-19. I for one can scarcely tear myself away from the stories. It turns out we are all connected, within this country and within the realm of human beings, by the threat of a microscopic enemy.
What would the trees say? Lots, it seems. In The Hidden Lives of Trees, author Peter Wohlleben expounds on the remarkable ways in which trees communicate with one another for the benefit of the whole. It seems that trees care about each other and help each other in times of need. Electrical impulses pass through the roots. Fungi, operating like fiber-optic internet cables, relay news bulletins from tree to tree. Trees share information and resources.
Within communities of trees, it’s not a matter of survival of the fittest. “Their well-being depends on their community, and when the supposedly feeble trees disappear, the others lose as well,” writes Wohlleben. His book includes chapters on Friendships, Social Security, Love, and Trees Aging Gracefully. The natural world amazes, always.
HOW’S THE SAP RUNNING? It’s all a blur. The recurring scenario this
A spell of cold, followed by
A slow warmup during the day,
The sap run kicking in late in the day and
Accelerating at night.
The latest log entry reads: 3/19 Did not quite freeze last night and ran well night and day. Cloudy today with temp near 40. Upper tanks less than 6″ away from overflowing since midnight.
BOILING STATUS: Today is Day 14. We’re making the lightest syrup of the year from crystal clear (beautiful) sap.
SAP SWEETNESS: 2%
SIGNS OF SPRING: I have been living indoors,
working to get the crop in, and need to hear from you readers. What are you hearing, smelling, seeing, touching?