We had a small traffic jam in the driveway yesterday. Bob Baisley was trying to drop off the annual order of hay bales that we use for soft landings at the bottom of our sledding hill. The conditions were perfect, with fresh crispy snow coating the back field. Bob noted that he had plowed that driveway for nearly 30 years, and had been dropping off hay in the winter for almost as long.
As we unloaded the bales, up the driveway came Bob’s brother Jim in his pickup. Jim runs a tree service, and was there to talk to us about another important project: The time has come for us to say goodbye to Grandmother Maple, the massive Sugar Maple which has stood watch over the back field for as long as the school has been in operation. Grandmother Maple has been lovingly generous with her sap, shade, shelter, and quiet company for our students over the years, and we are all lump-throated at the idea of saying goodbye to her.
We are determined to hold on to the wood from our favorite tree, and we spent a long time with Jim Baisley talking about the best way to preserve her timber. We need to start our project now, before the sap starts to run, so that the wood will be as dry as possible as in sits cut in preparation for use over the course of the next year. Our hope is to have boards and discs that we can use in projects and displays that will help us memorialize and remember Grandmother Maple far into the future.
During outdoor time today, the students came and gave hugs goodbye to their favorite Acer sacharrum, holding her bark close to their cheeks as they whispered their thanks. We gathered around a fire in the amphitheatre, sending our gratitude up in the smoke that swirled through Grandmother Maple’s branches, and tasting some crystals of maple sugar created from her sap. It was a sweet celebration of our dear friend. Thank you, Grandmother Maple!