Saturday, February 6, 2010
Let the Forest Sleep
Quietly falling in the dark of night, the snow came down like a bobcats steps. The woods were still, so very still as blankets of white fell soft and thick.Winter whispered too the forest, sleep...sleep a while longer. Not even the deer moved from their beds beneath thick evergreens. No tracks scarred the snow for as far as could be seen.
Up to my knees in snow, I pushed through to the hen house. Nearly two feet of powder piled high, made the coop seem like night inside, but warm and dry. The hens crooned and clucked a quiet greeting as I opened the door letting the daylight spill in. They gathered around my feet watching closely as I filled their feed and pushed the snow from the collapsing hoops.Clucking the whole time as if asking me what had happened to their predictable world of bright days and long nights.. As soon as the door closed behind me they fell silent again, as if night had fallen already.When I opened the outside door to the egg nest they clucked another good morning. They would do this all day, I thought. Thinking it was day, then night, then day.. for as many times as I would open and close the door. It seemed the spell of sleep cast by Winter's big storm, fell on all creatures.
Stepping into the warmth of the house, I had to agree. It was a good day to stay close to warm fires and do little.
Bev made "Maple Wax Jack" or " Maple on Snow" for the kids. She boiled dark maple syrup till it formed a soft ball. Then pour the dark amber liquid in strips over a pan of packed snow. The thick, hot syrup instantly, melted into the snow then formed a taffy like candy that was eaten right away with bits of snow still attached. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of making this candy in the book "Little House in the Big Woods"
She had written of how much she loved the candy, but maybe it was the making it with her parents and sister she loved most. I could not tell which our kids liked more. They had fun, was all I was sure of.
I remembered how big and quiet Laura Ingalls had said the big Wisconsin woods had been in winter. I could imagine winter had cast spells of sleep upon the forest then as now. Our forest would sleep for now, and we would wait for the warm touch of spring to waken the maples on another day.