March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
Dad left this morning a bit stressed. As I put on my makeup I could hear him downstairs in the kitchen worrying about the frozen sap. I probably watch too much reality television because as me and my mother tromped into the icy and unstable re-frozen snow I imagined us having one of those shows. I would explain with all earnest concern that father’s spring hobby happiness depended on this season’s syrup batch. Cameras would catch me and mother rushing across the snow without snow shoes in a hurry to save the sap from freezing. Just prior to cutting to commercials you would hear that horrifying tune – “duhn-duhn-duhn”- as the thin layer of hard snow gives way beneath my feet, I end up knee-deep in snow, and a quarter cup of sap splashes out of the bucket. You would hear a “bleeeeep” (as I cuss) and….cut to commercial!
We did our best not because we had cameras in our faces and were making money off of our outdoorsy-reality fame, but rather because we knew dad cared. He went out of town for the day leaving us with three small white buckets and a giant, blue, trash can (to be used as a giant, blue, make-shift sap bucket). A bit grudgingly we pulled on snow shows and headed towards the maples. There were eighty-five trees for us to search out and tend to. “This is the kind of thing that is only fun for those who don’t have to do it,” said my mother as we hollered to each other through the forest. We didn’t do this because we really wanted to but because behind our television addicts’ abs we knew it would mean a lot to dad.
The dire threat was the cold, overnight weather – it had caused the small amount of sap to freeze, which could take days to thaw. Luckily, for my dad and our future pancakes, the sap had not turned into a solid mass. Icy slush at the bottom of the containers meant my mother and me, carefully balanced atop crusty snow, had to shake milk jugs like we were preschoolers during musical craft time. A funny thing happened 15 minutes into this humorous, reality-television worthy scene – we actually began to enjoy our task. Maybe it was the laughing or the fact that our muscles were warming up and easing into the heavy lifting, bending, and not-so-couch-sitting type exertion.
Before the sun had set, all the buckets (including the trash can) were filled to the brim. The air smelled like the lake across the street as we stepped out of our snow shoes. We gleamed with pride at our job well done. My father pulled up in his truck just five minutes after we had gone back to the house; I greeted him on the porch, excited that we had something more to show for our afternoon than episodes watched or shopping bags filled.
I thought I was done talking about sap, but an afternoon like this – the kind where my father’s spring hobby was saved as we, with makeup and hair camera ready, showed a mundane task in a new and still semi-boring light – could be reality T.V. gold. And take it from us, we would know.