“A sap-run is the sweet good-by of winter. It is the fruit of the equal marriage of the sun and frost.” John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons (1886)
Eastern bluebirds had been flitting about my meadow for the past few weeks. Skunk cabbage emerged from frozen mud down at the marsh. Great Blue Herons and Sandhill Cranes stalked the edge of our county’s wetlands as the duel between the seasons accelerated. Those signs all teased of the approach of spring and then the county was bathed in blue sky with temperatures flirting with the 50 degree mark last weekend. Continue reading →
Legends crediting Native Americans with the “discovery” of maple sap flow into our history as easily as sap drips into a bucket on a sunny day on the dawn of spring. My favorite maple sap legend embraces the ways of nature, and salutes the keen observations of the first Americans. It goes something like this: Squirrels licking at sap, dripping from broken sugar maple twigs, in the waning days of winter attracted the attention of Native Americans. The liquid was collected to use in cooking and the process of evaporation sweetened the sap. The rest is history. I accept that as factual, for I often note “sapsicles” forming from broken maple twigs as the duel between winter and spring accelerates. I have also witnessed squirrels lapping at this gift of nature. When hiking in the early days of spring, I follow the behavior of squirrels and sample the trailside treats.