Dear Curiosity Journal,

The word is in (from the elder sugar makers). The real-time sap report from the valley is drip, drip, drip, so Rufus and I rally to prepare the operation. We hike into the maples to check lines, wash and sanitize tanks, move fallen trees, and organize supplies. It’s too soft to drive down today, but we stage chainsaws, tubing, tools, and taps in the truck bed, with the plan to descend into the sugar bush on the stiffness of the morning frost and hopefully wheel up the hill before the bemired field roads become impassable. Resting a moment on a fallen tree trunk I ask Rufus, “If 2024 is your 20th farming season, what is it for maple syrup?” After a rough calculation, he came up with the 35th season tapping in these woods. “What a wonderful life you’ve lived,” I said. My tree-climbing, bird-watching, veggie-growing, maple-sapping man smiled and replied,  “It is”.