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Collecting Maple Sap at Ravenstead

At Ravenstead honor and gift the Land-Wights.   Learn the wondrous ways of Erđa.
When winter’s season is waining in might,            the maple syrup is soon to be made.
Three good friends on Spring’s first day:              Dyer, Cyr and Anthonisjz.
Well-worn snowshoes on we strapped,               and strode o’er crusted fields of white.
Four feet deep and deeper still,                            stands the drifts laid down by wind.
The rawhide stretched and woven on wood,         we wound our way between the trees.
With buckets we marched to cloistered maples.    That morning dear Sunna shined on us warmly.
A gray squirrel gripped lightly the branch,              then bounded o’er head from pine to pine.
To check the buds of brown we stopped,             if starting to leaf: the sap goes sour.
Firm we found the buds to be,                              and bountiful was the tree-gift sweet.
Heading to leaves from roots it comes,                 the crystal clear sap flowing with life.
I bore the hole, the tap I hammered.                     Happy is one who works in the woods.
Then we trekked to the lower field,                       and found another gifting-tree.
My flock of sheep runs to greet us,                      and gaze with greed as the bucket is filled.
Iviđja their leader, bright her looks,                      she longs for a taste of the waters sweet.
Through the fence I let her lick,                            a little that spilled on the back of my hand.
Off to the last, my eldest tree,                              time has washed the ringed one much.
We followed the path snowshoes had formed.     Fine were the lines left in the snow.
My favorite maple, thick is her trunk.                   Two-hundred winters this wight has weathered!
Top-full the jugs that hung from the taps.             Tiring my limbs is this labor I love!
Heavy our haul our shoulders strained,                 striding between the whispering pines. 
Light the load when first we left,                           longer seemed the way back home.
By the fire the three friends enjoyed an ale,           after the Spring-day sap is stored.
With toiling and boiling the Cyrs will make,           a maple syrup to sell at the Thing.
Hail to Erđa! Wise-woman’s-ways.                      Well you treat children of Woden!
Hail to the Landwights at Ravenstead.                   Strong in Frith and friends we stand.

© Jonathan Cyr of Raven Kindred North

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