This year WYSO and Tecumseh Land Trust sponsored Living on the Land, an essay contest inviting writers of all ages to reflect on what home and land mean to them. Forrest Rowe won honorable mention in the middle school category.
February is a month I look forward to. I look forward to this month because it’s sugaring time. It’s the month that maple sap drips out of the trees and the temperatures rise above freezing. Making maple syrup is something I love to do and it’s something unique about me. There is nothing quite as satisfying as being able to stand back and admire the maple syrup that the land has provided.
On the first day of the year that the temperatures rise above freezing, you will find me in the woods tapping trees. Being outdoors in the fresh air: there is no better way to spend a crisp winter morning. There are many things I love about making maple syrup. Seeing the first drop of sap drip into the bucket, the rich smell of smoke that mixes with the sweet-smelling syrup while it cooks, and the feeling of accomplishment when the season is over, along with knowing there are a few gallons of maple syrup in the cellar waiting to be drizzled over pancakes. This, along with the great feeling of being self-sufficient.
There is something about making maple syrup that keeps me coming back every year. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s collecting sap on a crisp morning or splitting wood to keep warm, or maybe it’s just being outdoors and living closely with the land.