It’s early March, I’m 23 now and the ground is soft. The bears are still asleep. I sink into the mulch around my sister’s house and hear twigs crack. I think of long pieces of bark curling back in a fire. My sister tells me that mud season is fast approaching. Soon the roads will be impossible, the dogs impossible and then unimaginably, everything changes. Spring comes and no one says anything about the roads, the dogs and the earthy streaks under the couch. We take the syrup out of the fridge and eat.
Last night I watched as sap boiled on the stove for hours. Kim told me that no one sleeps in a sugar house. The weather’s been so warm that they only tapped their trees last week.
One bucket of sap returns about 2 inches of syrup. Now I know why maple syrup is so expensive. The buckets hang off the trunks like fat, tin bellies.
The neighbors are coming over to make maple syrup martinis. My sister grimaced at the idea while my face flushed with glee.