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The Day’s Delight: Cooking Sap

Alchemy al fresco: three pans simmering in three shades of shimmering bronze over an iron stove fed with inch-and-a-half thick kindling, sliced with an axe whose head is just a bit loose.

I stood in the steam. In the sweet vapor of trees. It smelled like caramel and vanilla and dries grass– and, ever so faintly, almost like popcorn.

The kids fished chunks of ice out of the big blue barrel (tall enough to hide me and a friend, if we wanted to); they sucked the sugar out of it and tossed the remnants on the ground, that was itself littered, pasted as in a scrapbook, with last year’s solar panels: translucent, bleached, ghostly leaves that none the less have held their shape and intention all winter long.

I moved kindling. Petted the dog, who stayed closer than usual because of all the bits of cracker and drops of roasted brats she was able to glean. Ennis and his friends played hide and seek.

The sap might run all night. It might just keep rising up from the good earth itself, through the roots and woody cells until it bleeds out, weeps at the channel that has been carved for it.

Look at the beauty that comes with opening up, letting go. Look at the sweetness to come.


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