, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

April 18, 2013

The Rite of Spring

Dawn breaks under an azure blue sky. The early morning light filters through clouds that appear pink and white, and hang like a curtain high above an eternal stage. The clouds part to reveal the snow covered earth below.

A few snowflakes are still falling as the cold, crisp air of night gives way to the warmth of a rising sun. It is a moment of tranquility and timeless beauty as the earth awakens, and with the circle of seasons completed begins its journey once again.

The sudden change in temperature has reached deep into the soil, down to the very roots of all the forest trees. The first to respond is the liquid life of the maple. Its dormant stage now over, the cold nights and warm days have caused an uptake and stem pressure in its roots to develop and its sweet water to rise.

The maple’s life water will rise slowly into the butt of the tree. Then it will be tapped, harvested, and taken to a sugar shack for processing. Once the water is extracted, the sweet smell of maple sugar will fill the morning air. If one were to stop out in the wood near a sugar shack and close their eyes, the sweet smell of maple would fill their minds and hearts. Yet the only sound they will hear is the soft whisper of the wind.

Tiny purple and yellow crocus peek out from a clump of overturned soil on the sunny side of the sugar shack. A gust of wind ruffles some ground leaves near them and they shrink back under the soil.

The last of the oak leaves has finally shaken loose from its branches. Like the maple and all the trees of the forest, it too waits for its life water to reach the tips of its branches and buds to form, as we move into the season of color and light.

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