Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trees and candlelight

V and I have been spending a candlelit evening together in honour of Earth hour, so I’m late coming to this blog. But it was nice to spend time away from electronics, surrounded by soft, flickering light. I even convinced V that we shouldn’t just do this one night a year, so we’ve decided to mark solstices and equinoxes with candlelit evenings as well – and I’ll try to remember to turn off some lights and light some candles on other random nights too.

On the day of an event focused on “positive action for the planet”, it seems fitting that we spent our morning in a forest of maple trees. One of M’s little friends celebrated his second birthday today at a local ‘cabane à sucre’ – sugar shack. We met up with the birthday boy, his parents and several other young families in an Ottawa urban park where over 1,000 maple trees are tapped each spring for syrup.

We’ve never been to a maple-sugar festival before, so it was a discovery for the whole family. M was very interested in checking the contents in various buckets to see how much sap had already been collected.

She also greatly enjoyed trying maple syrup that had been poured onto clean snow then rolled around a popsicle stick. Quite a treat for a little girl who is usually denied refined sugars and sweets.

Another big hit at the festival was the horse-drawn wagon rides. M is a big fan of the Clydesdale horses at the Agriculture Museum, so it was a real treat to get to ride on a wagon pulled by a beautiful pair of Clydesdales. We got in line early so that she could get a front seat in the wagon and she was absolutely engrossed in watching them the whole ride.

And I enjoyed finding, in the middle of my city, a grove of maple trees being tapped for syrup. It’s so refreshing to step off the treadmill of our busy, modern lives – whether it is by turning off the lights or by discovering the bounty of a forest. It’s a reminder to slow down and to appreciate and preserve the many gifts around us.

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