The kids had another day off school. This morning we walked down to main camp. Dad had left us buckets in the dining hall for collecting the tree sap. For the past three years, my brother has come down to tap maple trees. The first time we did this was in March 2020, right before the shutdowns. He has a friend who is skilled in identifying the state-wide trees. He knows them simply by looking at the bark, which is a useful skill to have in a season when trees have shed their leaves. The first year, we caught the tail end of the tapping season. We yielded just enough sap to make a half cup of syrup.

Last year he came with more friends, wives and children included, to make a weekend out of it. I wasn’t healthy enough to do anything except stare at my brother while he stood in the garage vigorously explaining the collection process he’d set up. Josh and the kids did the collecting during the following days and weeks. I’d drink the pure, unprocessed sap, hoping it to be a kind of magical mineral elixir to heal and cure me. It’s like drinking crystal clear water with a noticeable but light refreshing sweetness to it.

We picked up the buckets then drove down to the bottom of the hill where the kids and I collected the sap from the ten tapped trees. So far we’ve stuck to the trees on the edge of the woods, simply because they’re most accessible. The yields have never been extravagant. If we were hoping to store quarts and quarts of homemade syrup to last us year round, we might by this point be looking deeper into the words for different trees. What we do get is enough to know the lavish experience of gladness in February.

I didn’t go to class tonight. Josh is gone for most of the week in North Carolina. Once a year they have this February week-long gathering for camp people. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the kids alone for that long. Since we’re allowed to miss two classes in an 8-week period, I figured this would be my time to miss. We walked down to the lake this evening and amazingly the lake still had ice to walk on. The snow we received in the recent snowfall has nearly melted in the past few days of fifty degree weather.

We had a wonderful day, but I wasn’t productive at all in terms of any kind of school work. I have a paper due this weekend which I have yet to start on as far as actually typing out words. I’m hoping tomorrow brings more focus and productivity. This one is on Feminist Therapy applied to the case of Stan. Stan is the fictional character in our theories textbook. Every chapter has two or three pages of the chapter’s theory being applied with Stan, based on his biography. Stan has a fear of women that he is hoping to address (among other things). I’m planning to look over a few pages again after getting the kids tucked in and settled, hoping the time I have is more than enough.

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