The stars poke through the small crack in the roof. You make a mental note to fix it, at the same time recalling the image of your dad, standing precariously on a ladder, blowing nails through a nail gun years (years?) ago, to set the frame that would support that roof. Trying to decide if the brief sleep would be worth the abrupt awakening, you draw the already tight sleeping bag around you, hoping to find just a bit more warmth as the temperatures fall, once again, below freezing. Cold, but necessary to keep the sap flowing.
The phone rests comfortably in your hand, the white cord snaking up your chest, waiting for the next command from your aching thumb. Everything aches, but it is so familiar now, that you don’t really notice. Except when you do, your body throwing warning signs at you, reminding you that you are not the same man you were 10 years ago or, even, last year. This thought takes you to another and then another and before you realize it, the barn walls have disappeared and you have traveled down a path you didn’t even know existed.
Forcibly pulling back to the present, you extract yourself from the cocoon, slip your feet into the cold boots and stumble out to stoke the fire that has been working to transform the gift received from the trees into a gift for those who appreciate the process of creating the syrup.