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Today is officially the first day of Spring, but it is still late Winter here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont! Close to three feet of snow covers the ground in my little mountaintop town, but the sun is bright and the sky is blue. It's a time of awakening, in which those of us who live in the hills and hollows make our way to town more often, needing to see for ourselves that Spring really is coming. While the daytime sun warms the ground; shining brightly off the white snow, the nights are cold...the perfect conditions for the Maple Trees to do their magic!

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a serious maple syrup fan, in fact, it is the only sugar I use regularly in my house. I add it to my coffee, and I drink a lot of coffee, I bake with it, and sometimes I simply sip it. If you have ever seen the movie Super Troopers know that I could be a contender in the maple challenge! I don't just love maple syrup, I love maple trees in general. Solstice Meadow; my home, is filled with maple trees that shade my house in the heat of summer and put on an amazing display of beauty in the fall. I love the way they sound when the wind blows, and the way their bark feels. Maples are a friend of mine!

A few years back my neighbor friends Kim & Ben Bangs of Honest To Goodness Farm began offering a blessing and honoring to the maples of their grove at the beginning of the sugaring season. What started as a gathering of the family grew organically over the years, until we arrived at the beautiful festivities of the Maple Sugar Blessing 2023 with well over 50 people from the United States & Canada.

We arrived at the farm in clusters, the sun shining so bright that the ground in spots was slushy with snowmelt. After a short story of the farm, we made our way down the sugar road following the path laid down by the tractor on its morning runs to gather sap. We walked half a mile or so into the newly tapped grove of maples we would be honoring that day.

Ben and Kim spoke of reciprocity, and how they had returned to gathering their sap in buckets; so they may give their thanks to each individual tree, and how they heated their sap with downed wood harvested in the forest they tend. Songs and chants of honoring were shared from multiple cultures, and we all had an opportunity to give our thanks individually to the trees.

Our hearts were full of story, song, thanks, and sunshine as we made our way back to the farm for Sugar-on-Snow! For those of you who don't know- Sugar-on-Snow is exactly what it sounds like, hot syrup poured onto fresh snow, it chills up into a soft taffy that is eaten off a popsicle stick. It is fantastic!

I wish you the magic of the season, filled with melting snow, blue skies, sunshine, and maple goodness!

spreading love-salicrow


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