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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

While doing my MSc, I explored the economic costs of a massive ice storm in Eastern Ontario. One of the women on the project focused on the costs specific to maple syrup producers.

Maple syrup production is lovely – tucked deep into old stands of trees, far from the ebb and flow of cities. It’s a quiet and wholesome work.

It feels so mysterious; it is ancient. Little beads of sap forming in the taps, dripping silently into the tubing, joining the million other drops slowly flowing to the tanks.

In the sugar hut, where the sap is concentrated into syrup, smoke fills the room, drifting over the open drums filled with clear sap. Bits of ash, moss, and leafs pepper the depths of the deep tanks. It’s extremely quiet, full of depth and power.

Almost every time I went to the woodlots I felt as those the trees were individuals … almost sentient. A bit melodramatic of course, but the feeling was inescapable. These were great, old, worn beings. Standing among them, brazen and ambitious … felt silly.

From the oldest trees run four or five taps. From the youngest, just one or none at all. Imagine how the young trees must have felt getting their first taps … so proud. Standing tall beside the great ones, flushed with excitement. Then think of those old, wise trees sadly smiling down at them knowing what lies ahead. That a life of hunger had just begun – the future only held more taps.

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