Maple sap runs in March.
The frozen ground loosens its grip on the roots buried deep. Water slowly courses through the veins running in the narrow trunks.
Water mixing with sweep sap. Rising up the trunk. Drilled holes releasing the concoction into metal buckets. Light colored and thin.
A sweet drink. Syrup needs fire.
Steam clouds the sugarhouse. Reaching for the railing we strain to see below. Evaporating water streaming always upwards.
Burning logs push scorching heat into vats of boiling sweet liquid. Light colored and thin.
He stands stirring. The maple syrup man. Eyes focused down. He watches.
The fire must burn off the water. He raises a metal scoop out of the vat. Studying. Many a March he has stood here. He knows exactly when the water is gone, and pure syrup remains.
The fire works. He watches. The maple syrup man waits.
The fire doesn’t hurt the syrup. The fire produces the syrup.
He raises his scoop. Thick dark syrup pours down the edges.
Gently he closes the passage from the fire to the syrup. Syrup slowly releasing heat.
My own life needing fire. The fire burns. Selfishness, pride, unforgiveness rise out.
The Master stands. Never leaving. He watches. He waits. He has stood here many a March.
The Master gently urging me to see. But I can only see the orange and yellow flames.
He touches my eyes. I can see. He is in the fire.
He was in the burning bush. He was in the pillar of fire. He was in the fiery furnace.
God is in my fire.
The fire doesn’t hurt me. The fire produces His sweet spirit in me.
I need fire.
Photography copyright © by Jane Carole Stein