Happily, it did and after emptying the first partial buckets, he sat recounting his day. Listening intently, I was struck by an observation he made.
“I’m amazed,” he said gazing past me towards the trees, “that we get over 400 gallons of sap one drop at a time.”
I hadn’t really thought about it, but he was right. Thousands (millions?) of drops of sap do add up to something really delicious that we savor with friends and family all year long.
And it all comes one sweet drop at a time.
I stayed safely tucked inside as long as I could watching flake upon flake make huge drifts until Darrell signaled that it was probably time to bundle up and head out into the cold.
While most days I love living a simple life, when the snow is deep and we become the snowplow, I remember that simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
We shoveled…and shoveled….and shoveled…..
Those snowflakes, like our sweet drops of sap, accumulated.
I’ve long believed that nature has a lot to teach whenever I’m willing to pay attention, so I started ruminating: Where did this “one at a time” theory fit into my life?
What was I accumulating? My thoughts turned immediately to my recipe shelf and all the recipes I’d torn from magazines and scribbled onto envelopes or other little scraps of paper. They were definitely a blizzard in their own right!
But what about other, intangible, things? Was I harboring little judgments or resentments that were growing roots even as I sat writing; one small thought at a time?
Thankfully, even though little things do add up, it isn’t necessarily catastrophic! My friend, Mark, reminded me that when he looks around his farm he thinks about all the people who have come to pitch in: re-pointing the stone foundation on the barn, building shelving in his workshop, and helping plant the garden. “Every time someone helps out it adds drops to my bucket,” he said. “And it feels good!”
Hannah More, an English writer born in the 18th century was a social reformer long before it was the norm for women. She is known for giving the abolitionist movement public voice with her writings. In The Dew Drop magazine for the young she wrote, “One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. You are a little child; passing amid the crowd you are hardly noticed; but you have a drop, a spark within you, that may be felt through eternity. Do you believe it? Set that drop in motion- give wings to that spark, and behold the results. It may renovate the world.”
This was great advice for the half-penny it cost way back in the 1700s and it certainly holds true today. My love of bread was sparked by my mother and my grandmother had sparked it in her! I wonder sometimes how many generations this spark has been passed forward. Will my children carry it, too?
I may not be renovating the world, but I like to think I’m adding in what I can to leave my corner of the world a little better than I found it.
This week I honored all those drops of sap and flakes of snow by turning my attention to one of my other favorite little things: crackers. If you’ve never made crackers before, you’ll be surprised by how easy and delicious they are.
I made rosemary-sesame seed crackers. They were a hit at our annual Maple Syrup Day! I think you’ll enjoy them, too.
Once again, you’ll find the recipe kid-friendly and fun.
If you find yourself kneading dough this week why not take time to reflect on one small thing (or person) that has sparked something in your life? Leave a comment, maybe something as simple as someone’s name, so we can all share in it with you!
PS: It’s the Cooking with Maple contest at the Genesee Country Museum (March 21) this weekend! Why not take your family out to see their syruping operation in action, learn a little bit about the history of maple syruping in our region, and support the preservation of our local history all at the same time?!