Sap Rising

I can see snow on the mountains. It is far away. Snow has never piled up on my land, like it did when I was a kid.

Easter has just passed, the time of resurrection and spring. Some parts of the world are still covered in snow when Easter happens.

I have seen those places pick pussy willows for Easter.

That was not my Easter tradition, but watching pussy willows come out was definitely a spring tradition.

Winter is long and cold. The snow stays long past being fun and I could wonder when it would thaw out. I walked through the woods every day, walking through paths I’d already tramped through the snow. It looked the same as ever.


Tiny fur buds popped along the willow switches. Willows were not even trees, only thin wands. Thin tight bumps with silver kitten toes–I would pet the fur when I saw it.

Did this mean the snow would melt?

What did this baby tree know? My breath blew white and this branch was growing.

It didn’t always mean the snow would melt. The pussy willow would emerge, and the cold would return.

The branches would go dormant again. This might happen a few times.

Those willows sprouted whenever the sap started to move. And it was eager to move. They had growing to do!

Eventually they would prevail. If the cold was finally gone, the pussy toes would get bigger, spraying out into a fluffy pollen spray. Leaves were right behind.

I think of them now, not just because it is spring. I think of their eagerness to get out. And how they would push out even before it was fully safe to do it.

I love their pioneer courage. Rush the gates! Even if thrown back it’s worth the attempt.

And it’s only a plant.

I am stuck waiting.



But I know the sap will run again. I’m ready for it.

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