Have you ever wondered why maple syrup always seems to come from ‘somewhere else’ meanwhile there is a maple tree growing in our very own backyard (or front yard or side yard)? Yes? Well, this cold and snowy winter residents and employees had that same question rising inside and got involved in the first joyous maple tapping, harvesting, and syruping ever in the story of the Stony Point Center.
An idea that branched out from that same curiosity and imaginative yearning that might have also brought the aboriginal people of this area to the sugar maples for their yearly treat of sweetness and healing. The maple season’s beginning also coincided with the Jewish pastoral holiday called Tu B’shevat or the Festival of the Trees and was more than enough encouragement for many young and old to push through the bark of the warm indoors and participate in the tapping. Healing of our minds and hearts came dripping in; from a story filled day of boiling syrup while tending a fire outside on a cold Saturday in March, to drinking the sap water which some have said ‘cured the pain of arthritis’ and tastes sweet enough to be likened to a North American coconut water. The community came together to close the maple season with a ritual of poem and prayer to honor the trees of the Stony Point Center as well as those who have planted them in years past (including the Gilmor sisters) and those trees who have been planted to honor individuals who have become rooted and integral to this community over the years.
With over 200 gallons of sap harvested and drank or boiled to syrup and sugar we have learned some important lessons. We do not have to look farther than our own backyard or community for the sweetness we desire in our lives. Yes, we are enabled by our predecessors in caretaking this beautiful land they have generously tended and encouraged by their lives to choose once again to caretake it for our great-grandchildren.
Jason Long, Resident