Dear Curiosity Journal,

It seems early in the season, but tapping trees has come up in multiple conversations. All of a sudden, we’re having the weather for it, below freezing at night, warming to thawing temps in the day, on repeat. It just feels like the sap should be running. Rufus has already expressed some concern about missing the run in the form  of “what ifs” and “that one year” ruminations, which concluded in a phone call to check with the elder sugarmakers. Curiosity led me into the maples to check on the trees with my trusty mountain dog by my side. Perhaps I’m reading into it, but Balio seems to be pretty jacked about maple syrup season. He charged down into the valley, ran a quick route around the sugar camp, inspected the collection tanks, sniffed down a multitude of small mammals, marked his territory, and laid down by the boiler. “Are you ready for the boil, buddy?” He dutifully held his post at the head of the stove, conjuring conceptions of his ancestors who befriended fire-makers. I checked the trees and found flowage, a call to action or perhaps a false start. Maybe the sapping season is shifting. My observation is inconclusive. I’m waiting to hear what the elder sugarmakers say, but the dog is ready.