Each year for the last several, as the Winters melt away into Springs, I have tapped the trees in my yard and my neighbors. I collect the sap and store it in a barrel until I am ready to boil. Then, I boil the sap, concentrating down into thick, sweet syrup.
And, with each passing season, I grow more and more grateful for the initial harvest of the year. Wendy and I strive to do better and better each year, or at least to collect enough to last us the whole year through until the next sugaring season. And then, our minds turn to greens and beyond to those wonderful plants that help to feed us.
Each season is unique in character, some longer and other shorter. Last year, for instance, I tapped on January 29th and by the very beginning of March the flow was petering out. This year, by contrast, I tapped February 15th and the sap is still flowing, albeit slowly, today.
I worried this year because the weather has been off. Sometimes, it has been too cold, others too warm. In spite of this, and the multiple huge snowfalls (the largest being 2 feet or so), the sap is flowing and I am still boiling. With what I have in the barrel today, we will end up with 2.5 gallons of syrup.
And as I sit, listening to the birds sing while the pans boil, I wonder what Mother Nature will provide an abundance of this year. Will it be acorns, or apples, or deer, or something else? I am eager for the seasons to wend their way through the cycle to see, because I have not been aware enough for long enough to hazard a guess. Perhaps, this year will bring an plethora of foxes who fed well on the large numbers of turkeys last year bore. Or, there may be an increase in the rabbit population, who benefited from the large number of available turkeys.
This MooseBoots journey is ever changing. And, as a result, I continue to grow. There always seems to be something new to learn, some new detail to study, a new angle to see, a new relationship to understand. It could be that there is no end or learning to reach, but perpetual growth ... even beyond this life and into the next. Regardless, I feel blessed.