Something Sweet

By Andrea Fisk Rotterman

November 2, 2015

Something Sweet

I walk the farm of my childhood in search of the sugar maple. I want to trace the brown bark, slide my fingers down its furrows, roll its needle leaf points between my fingers.

Beside me, Belle, my dad’s foxhound, holds her noble head high. She catches a scent, shifts into the prairie grass.

I wear a light jacket. It’s early April. Forty degrees. Cold north air is losing ground to the surge of warmer southern currents.

The sugar maple stands on a ridge alongside the old tobacco barn. Dark green leaves, the undersides the color of luna moth wings, waggle in a cross wind.

The tree has aged along with me. The bark flakes like dry skin. Some limbs have fallen as has my time with my father. With my index finger I trace the rivulets in the bark.

Belle circles back to me. I pat her head. “I think we found it, girl.”

I lay my palm on the trunk.

I am four years old. My father carves into the bark with his pocket knife. Shavings of wood curl and drop. Sap darkens its flesh.

I watch him search in the weeds. He breaks off a dry stem. He taps the tree, siphoning the clear liquid to his lips.

He turns to me, mirth in his Irish blue eyes. “Taste this, Betz. It’s sweet."

Comments (15) - Post a Comment
I loved this - thank you for bringing me my first smile of the morning!
Monica at 8:28am EST - November 2, 2015
This was wonderful! Thank you so much for making my morning.
Paula at 8:38am EST - November 2, 2015
Thank you.
Scott at 8:51am EST - November 2, 2015
Lovely. Well done!
Becky at 9:27am EST - November 2, 2015
"rivulets in the bark" - wonderful
Carol Marsh at 9:54am EST - November 2, 2015
"rivulets in the bark" - wonderful
Carol Marsh at 9:54am EST - November 2, 2015
"rivulets in the bark" - wonderful
Carol Marsh at 9:54am EST - November 2, 2015
it is always nice to find a home somewhere.
Nkechi at 10:25am EST - November 2, 2015
it is always nice to find a home somewhere.
Nkechi at 10:25am EST - November 2, 2015
it is always nice to find a home somewhere.
Nkechi at 10:25am EST - November 2, 2015
while we show age on the outside, there is still sweetness on the inside. Lovely, thank you.
Linda Dunlavy at 10:31am EST - November 2, 2015
Beautifully written!
Ann McCracken at 8:41pm EST - November 2, 2015
It feels like the reader can enjoy the walk with you.
Lovely.
Ellen Frankenberg at 11:31pm EST - November 2, 2015
Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments. The piece is about one of my favorite memories of childhood. Tasting the sugar water from the maple tree was like magic to my little girl self.
Andrea Fisk Rotterman at 7:52am EST - November 3, 2015
My Dad died in 1995. Sometimes I feel like I would give everything to get him back, if even for a few minutes. After reading "Something Sweet," I feel like I just did.
Jan Allen at 8:41am EST - November 21, 2015


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