My daughter is a three year veteran of sugaring. She’s four years old now and knows her role well. She squirms as I strap on her snowshoes and with a squeal of excitement she races to the sugar maple closest to our house.
She carefully lifts the lid of the sap bucket and peers inside. “Mummy! The tree gave us LOTS of sap!” She jumps up and down with delight, sending the lid crashing back down and spilling a bit of precious sap. She pretends not to notice. I say nothing.
She watches, holding her breath, as I empty the bucket into my portable pail. “Don’t spill it, Mummy! Be careful!”
I return the sap bucket to the hook beneath the spile. After a moment there is a steady ping of droplets crashing to the bottom of the empty tin bucket. She grins. “It’s giving us more! It’s so good at sharing! Thank you, tree!” She throws her arms around the aged maple and gives it a hug.