We took turns gathering maple sap before sunrise

during late winter, the world still but for my 

felt lined rubber boots scrunching over frozen snow … ice with

school kid’s boot indentations quick frozen slush

during the brief span winter allowed spring

to show itself … then back into

the deep freeze …


i passed four residential homes their windows

black and vacant inside … a world with no sound not a

car door slam the whish of four wheels plowing through

slush arcing in their wake .,.. 


three street lamps

at both ends and middle of the block threw

yellow halos onto the snow

sparkling frozen crystals echoing

points of light shimmering bright against the clear

navy blue sky …


between each light

… slow shadow approaching brief darkness …

 snuffed back into night then out of the

cold dark into the halo three times in

succession to the end of the block where i

turned facing north beginning the journey home but

for brief visits at the trunk of each tree

spilling tiny bits of sap into my white jug

dripped more slowly into our

tin pails the trees half asleep 

some heart pumping sap upward

from earth gathered by

fingers reaching downward …


their sap water clear and cold

delicious to taste, faintly sweet 

wood maple flavored, the essence of each tree

synthesized energy stored in caskets of root

below ground aged five months

the finest wine refreshing and cold to sip

sun’s energy given back thirst slaked

oddly as  refreshing during

the coldest mornings as cold water

on a hot summer day a gift to

the leaves giving life back

taken during bright summer 

fueling the furnace creating new life’s essence 

given to dormant buds waiting to

come alive in perpetual motion …