SUGAR SHACK

102-large The breath caught in my throat while the frosty air tingled my nose. Dipping below zero overnight made every surface crystallize. What must the robins think who just came to town? As my boots make crisp crunches on the light snow towards the bird feeder my eyes gaze at the branches glittering from the freeze.

After two bird cakes are delivered the path leading down to the creek awaits me. The tediousness of donning snow-pants and a thick coat were needed. The sun begins to peek above the hilltop hopefully warming the day enough for the sap to run in the maple trees.

My son is taking his children, William and Cindy, and their Poppy, Samuel, to the Sugar Shack. They will adopt a tree, learn about maple syrup and how it’s made, and taste the sap at the sugar house. As a child memories come forth of the long handled tin dipper coming out of the boiling sap waiting to cool for us to sip. Shane’s wife and three week old Nathan will stay with me while I heat up Reuben’s in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a yearly tradition.

All of the birds that have returned from the south to this early spring—where do they hide, how do they manage this unforeseen Arctic? The scarf around my face warms the air before traveling to the lungs. Still, the cold grips my insides before warming to the body heat from movement. The laps invigorate every muscle and cell. The sudden cold kept me inside the last three days, too wimpy to brave it after temps in the 60’s. I have chosen the coldest day to embark, but the wind is gone making all the difference.

At last sweat forms and the feeling of accomplishment and health returns after the laze of going too long without exercise besides vacuuming. The snow sparkles… fairies have strewn their diamonds to entice us and magic abounds. The glow of oranges and red from the dawning yellow orb of the sun make the swirling thick smoke from the neighbor’s chimneys more prominent. One last gasp of winter reminds me of her delights despite the frigidity.  

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