Dean and Maple

A snow covered landscape greeted me when I woke this morning. Spring seems to be taking its time in arriving here in Nova Scotia, sending out teases before allowing Winter to blast us with cold and ice. It’s beautiful outside the window here in my parents’ living room, but I can’t say I’ll miss this weather once it has passed.

Friday morning I arrived here, had some lunch and then headed out for a walk. In the city I miss being able to walk within the quiet of a rural environment, so now when I return home I make it a point to go out. I walked down the main road and then climbed Lemmon Hill, deciding to make my way back to my family’s maple sugar camp.

I grew up with each Spring ushered in with a heart-warming time rich in family and sweetness. My fondest childhood memories are set at the maple camp, enjoying maple syrup and time with many people very dear to me. From the sugar buzz of a chugged mug of maple syrup to the joy of gathering sap from the trees, there was nothing like the time I spent in the maple woods.

My grandfather began the maple business and my uncles and father have continued it through the years. Demand for our syrup always surpasses the amount we can produce; even expanding production to new woods hasn’t stopped this. The syrup is of such quality that I am usually very disappointed when I taste what can be found in stores, so I’m very happy to be returning to the city with a few litres of the sticky, sweet treasure.

When I arrived at the camp I found my uncles Gerry and Cyril, my aunt Lucy, my cousin Marsha and her son Tyler, and some friends of the family. The camp is usually a magnet for the family, so it’s not surprising to see it filled with people. There was such an air of warmness there that I almost didn’t notice the most telling sign of being at the camp.

The scent of the sap boiling into syrup is magical. The moment I come into contact with it I’m hit with memories and a sense of rightness. I’m home in that space of maple transformation, at peace in a way I seldom am anywhere else.

The next day I helped my aunt Lucy get her computer running more smoothly. Working with Windows is even more tedious now than it was before I left it. It’ll be a fine day when people are running stable, efficient and aesthetically pleasing operating systems.

I’ve had a nice, relaxing stay here in Dean, where I grew up. It has been refreshing to be away from those obligations that normally demand my attention. Dial-up has kept me from reading over a hundred articles each day as I normally do, but as much as I miss that stimulation, I’ve enjoyed a simple weekend.

4 thoughts on “Dean and Maple

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  1. I have been to the camp many times with Gerry and Cyril and the gang. My father also runs a maple camp in New Brunswick and as far back as I can remember some of my fondest memories are of this and other camps. My father and uncles had open air boilers for many years not always in sheds. Thanks for your well writen note it brings a pleasant smile to my face this morning. I will be going up to our own cottage on the hill this weekend and will probably bump into one of the the Lemmon gang.

  2. I have been to the camp many times with Gerry and Cyril and the gang. My father also runs a maple camp in New Brunswick and as far back as I can remember some of my fondest memories are of this and other camps. My father and uncles had open air boilers for many years not always in sheds. Thanks for your well writen note it brings a pleasant smile to my face this morning. I will be going up to our own cottage on the hill this weekend and will probably bump into one of the the Lemmon gang.

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