Sugarbush Waits for You

How long until the sap
drips and drops into the buckets,
pails carried through snow and brambles
trying not to slop.
Some say we have a long way to go yet.
To others, it seems not so far away.
Age has a lot to do with that,
from when four more sleeps can be an eternity,
to four months slipping by, barely noticed.
The dripping sap keeps us here in the moment,
the tick-tock-tick of a change in season
inching us along in real-time.

I pour the buckets into the vat.
The old men feed the fire and stir slowly
with a mild sense of detachment,
skimming the little leaves and lichens

that have fallen into the pot.
They have been here before.

I can remember every sugarbush of my life,
the heavy pails I used to carry,
and the smell of woodfire and maple
as I now stir.

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