One of our best friends lives about two hours north of us in Vermont. He turned 30 this week and, in between injectibles, we managed to join some of our other buds to help him celebrate. In Vermont, betwixt winter and spring, they’ve got a little something called “the muddy season.” So called because the run-off from receding heaps of old snow slicks up those mountain-side dirt roads and becomes, as it were, really, really muddy. Ankle deep slop rivets everywhere. And while the trees mostly look as barren as we feel, appearances are deceiving.
Muddy season, it turns out, perfectly coincides with the maple syrup harvest. So many leafless trees are tapped for their sap which, over the course of a few weeks’ time, becomes the syrup that serves as the Vermonter’s staple sweet. It flavors everything from coffee to beer to candies to donuts to ice cream to honest-to-goodness snow cones. As in, snow. Literally. And the locals are seemingly very literal people. They call this delicacy “sugar on snow.”
Inherently optimistic. Not a trace of the just-fucking-melt-already mentality you might expect from folks for whom winter lasts 10 months. They just take this thing that might maybe be getting a little old and drizzle some syrup on top and voila. All this snow ain’t so bad. It’s a treat!
And maybe sugar on snow was just exactly what I needed to take my mind off what didn’t take (three follicles, 150 million sperm, no pregnancy), the way those now every day Gonal-F injections are doing a whole lot of nothing remarkable for us either (except for how, when I turn my head from side to side, I upset my equilibrium and feel a little bit like barfing). But more probably it was our friends.
There was this moment. We’d just taken a Corolla for a messy, muddy ride up the side of some mountain and had a personal tour of a little family-owned sugar house operated by a bud of a bud who offered to show us the ropes. He let us help and, what for our troubles, gave us a pass-around sample in a miniature mug, and it was delicious. Afterwards, he pointed us in the direction of the sugar bush advising, “You can maybe get to it without snow-shoes, guy.” Inherently optimistic Vermonter for: Ha! You can maybe get to it without snow-shoes, guy, but probably not. Probably, you’ll find yourself up to your hips in the white stuff. So the Projected Pops and one of his since-childhood bffs made a valiant attempt. And so it was that he found himself, belly laughing with his bud while the more sensible of us trailed behind with cameras, pointing and guffawing and feeling sort of infinite and, dare I say, happy. Sugar on snow.