"Giving Thanks for a Beloved Sugar Maple"

"Standing under the old sugar maple, I want to sing a hymn. Kneel down and pray. Its tall branches tower above me like flying buttresses, its wide canopy is a sanctuary. It is my favorite tree on the farm.

I measure its girth: 13.5 feet in circumference. Not as large as the maple that was felled in New Hampshire in 2021. That tree was a national champion: 19 feet in circumference, 101 feet tall with a canopy that stretched 100 feet. Our maple, no record-holder, is smaller, about 90 feet tall with a 70-foot canopy, but still of a size one doesn’t see every day.

I can stand underneath the tree in the rain and barely get wet. My husband and I guess the tree is about the age of our old log house, circa 1860, but we’re not sure. Young, perhaps, for maples, which can live up to 300 years. I don’t know if it ever provided sweet sap as other maples have in this valley, but a friend who grew up here and has tapped sugar maples for fifty years says he’s never seen a bigger Acer saccharum."

Daryin Brewer Hoffstot reports for the New York Times November 24, 2022.


Source: NYTimes, 11/29/2022