The Colors of Arizona

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The last few nights, frantically collecting late into the cold evenings, the sweet sap rapidly turning to ice in the buckets. The moon full, high in the darkening blue sky, dusky pink sunset colors illuminating the woods, snow crunchy underfoot. The hard work softened by the romance of a moonlit night – and an occasional kiss from my sweet sugar maker.

Last week, an interlude from sugaring, a short trip west, a long overdue visit to the beautiful high desert landscape of southern Arizona to see dear family there. Bright and sunny, cloudless days. Clear and starry night skies. Distant views of mountains, soft browns and sage green, a landscape draped with folds of soft velvet. Close up, early spring blooms emerging like magic from grasslands and dormant shrubs, birds returning. Hints of the old west, and strong flavors of Native American, Spanish and Mexican cultures. The mild weather like a caress, the landscape a treat for the senses, a delight to hike and tour the area with expert guides.

Today the spring snows are gone, colts foot in bloom, the loamy earth fragrant. Taps dripping like crazy, buckets overflowing. Another late moonlit night ahead in our cozy sugarhouse, boiling the sap to make maple syrup, dinner a picnic again. Warmer weather in the forecast, time to savor the last few days of a busy, short sugaring season – sweet memories of the trip west still fresh in our hearts.

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