As a girl growing up in Vermont, the leaves of trees held a certain fascination. After all the starkness of the winter, it was wonderful to see the greens of the brand new leaves in the spring. The leaves transformed the landscape in autumn. We pressed them and waxed them. When they fell, we raked them and played in the huge piles of rustling leaves.
Now I admit the leaves in the central valley of California are just now showing the greens of the new baby leaves and I’m pleased to see them. And yes, some of the trees do change color. Their leaves fall and I rake them. And this year I did press some.
I find the shape of some leaf or another in my doodles so frequently.
But to me they don’t hold a candle to the leaves of the Vermont trees. Above all the leaves that are there, is the maple leaf.
In the spring before their leaves appear, when the days are warm and the nights are cold, the sugar maples are tapped. My dad made a documentary of one of our neighbors sugaring. We’d peered in the buckets to see the gathering sap and smelled it’s delicate fresh spring smell. We’d been in the steaming sugar houses when it was boiled down. We had poured the hot syrup on the snow and twisted the cooling ribbons on to sticks to eat the hardening candy. But our family had never made any maple syrup ourselves.
However, inspired by Peter and Polly books my mom came up with a plan. We were going to tap a tree and make our own syrup. How my sister was left out of the project I’ve never been sure. But by the time we trudged down the hill that afternoon, this small event of putting the spout in the maple had become symbolic of what would happen if ever my mother and I ventured out to accomplish a project together. This event is the basis of my piece for SharonB‘s March TIFC project.
I’ve been scaling it down and limiting it to a very small size. Whether I will get it stitched by the end of March is dubious. But I’ve been having a great time playing with it.