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A Walk in the Woods

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Saturday after Good Friday. A fine long walk in nearby woods.

So much to experience. Always fresh.

Ran into a maple farmer with (his?) young lad.

Friendly greeting exchanged. His? family have cared for and harvested this woodlot since the 1880’s AND we get to walk along these groomed woodchipped trails. Amazingly, sweet grace.

I walked on thinking how grateful I am for having access to this. Turning around, thinking "I’m going to say thanks." The gentleman was already scooting back to work, gathering their blue lines – transport for sap.

I hesitated realizing he might think me a tad strange running after him. Sauntering over to the youngster I asked him to please pass a message of thanks for tending this land and keeping it open to the likes of people like me..

Headed northwest for a few hundred meters. Struck up a conversation with a younger gentleman.

Ended up sharing a story of collecting sap on a farm near North Hatley, a small community east of Montreal. Around 1975. Went with my future father-in-law, Julia and others. We boarded a sleigh pulled by 2 draft horses with this humungous barrel on it.

In the woods we started running for sap. We’d push through thigh deep snow, grab the cone shaped tin bucket with varying amounts of sap and head back to the tub. Dump. Back to tree to hang basket on nail. Onto the next bucket and so on. It didn’t take that long for 8 of us to fill that floating barrel. In no time, we were headed back to the toasty sugar shack for some fresh syrup on snow. I’ve heard it called a few things. For my Dad it was ‘la tire’.

The young gent suggested I wouldn’t find many of those today.

As I moved further into the woods a storm sailed in - I do love a good storm.

You know how a wind rolls in sometimes and just holds it steady and hard! Never taking a breath? This Saturday, it came in waves rolling over the tops of the trees singin’ deep and lo’. Then ease off slowly; falling silent. A couple minutes and back she came. Such a different experience. Equally grand!

This gay ol’ wind chose to bring along some snow. Not enough to cover anything. Just enough for a celebration and time for me to say thank you for another fine winter. Until the next time we meet..

Often in a wintery wood I witness creatures. Faces in the ware and tare of trees, shadows playing on snow or lounging in frozen ponds.

How that wind looks:

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