The sun was high and strong for most of the weekend, and yesterday afternoon I walked up the hill to where our 30-ish buckets hang, listening hopefully for the telltale metronomic plink of dripping sap. But it was barely above freezing, and the trees had yet to loosen up, so I found only dry buckets and heard only the near-silent movement of a lazy breeze through the leafless forest. I turned and walked back down the old skid path, the red-and-yellow steeple of the old town church visible in the distance. I like seeing that steeple, it’s settling to me. The new leaves will hide it soon enough.
Just as well the sap didn’t run, I guess. We’d promised ourselves not to sugar this year, to instead apply ourselves to the long list of tasks forsaken in last summer’s quest for tin over beasts both human and otherwise. But then the days began to stretch at both ends, and we felt the sun on our sallow cheeks, and we began to overestimate ourselves the way we often do. In a fit of ambition, I took to a dense copse of spruce and fir that kept the garden in full shade during the mid-morning hours. Got a few sawlogs out of the deal and a big ole burn pile. I picked up three piglets to supplant the three that have yet to find their way to the freezer, but which will soon be making that one-way journey. Bucked up the first of next winter’s stovewood, a honking big red maple gone soft in the heart, and a smaller white birch. I love birch. Best quick-cooking wood there is, takes off like a rocket. Penny built a seedling shelf and prepped for onions. The boys hunted rabbits and we ate them for dinner one evening and again for breakfast the next morning. Michael owed us a day of work in exchange for the sawlogs I’d hauled for him, so he came by and he and Penny and the boys framed walls in the upstairs while I cleaned up some of the mess I’d made of the trees, and we joked that instead of paneling the walls, we should just add studs at three-inch spacing, as if the boy’s rooms were actually jail cells.
Well. I guess you had to be there.
My conversation with Erica provoked some interesting discussion (along with some great photos submitted by other folks). No doubt much more could be said about judgement and ambivalence and abnegation of self. Actually, I’m not sure what abnegation of self is, though it probably wouldn’t take too long to figure out.
But right now I mostly feel like shutting up and getting back to work.