Friday, 17 October 2014

"Tapping Trees."

Rex held her hand tightly, leading her across the yellowing grass. "Walk slowly."

"Okay." Megan slid her thumb over his, her skin feeling the rough calluses on his knuckle. Her feet moved over lumpy roots sticking out from the earth and she bit the inside of her mouth deciding that she knew where she was.

He pulled her hand and she ran her fingers over the rough bark of a tree. "It's time to tap."

Megan smiled. "I thought I wouldn't be able to help this year."

Laughing, Rex handed her a bucket. "We need your help, Megan. With eight workers on that strike, and Gerald in the hospital, there are only fifteen of us, and over a thousand trees."

"Whose maple is this?"

"Eddie's," Rex said quietly, beginning the process of tapping.

Megan crouched down and touched the grave. "I miss him, Rex."

Rex wrapped her hair through his fingers. "So do I. Here are your tools. You can work on Susan's tree."

Megan walked a few feet to another sugar maple, her hand on Susan's grave as she started to work. The maple grove filled with tappings and scrapings, and Megan found her way to Rex, who had moved on to more trees.

"Are the children's' trees completed?" she asked, smiling, though her mouth felt numb and sad.

"I've only done Eddie's. The last one to do is Bartholomew's tree."

Megan held Rex's arm. "This one's hard. If I had been where he was, he could have lived."

Rex kissed her cheek. "You don't need to tap it by yourself. I'll help you."

They walked to Bartholomew's tree and Rex did the tapping while Megan sat by the grave. "Are you ready?" Rex asked gravely, giving her his hand to help herself up.

"Yes." Megan felt a shuddering sigh coming into her chest, and she sucked in her breath and stomach at the same time.

Rex put his hand his hers, and they set the bucket. When the last bit of work was done, Rex stuck their fingers under the sap coming out and put them up to Megan's mouth.

She laughed a little.

"Lick them!" Rex said, taking her other hand. "Or else the sap will dry and my fingers will be all sticky and I'll have to use that special soap thing to get them un-sticky."

Megan licked their fingers, and then dipped their other hands into the sap so Rex could lick.

Rex licked her fingers, then held her hands together in his. "How much maple syrup do you think we'll make this year?"

"A lot of it," Megan whispered, quoting Bartholomew. She leaned her forehead against Rex's. "Ho much do you think we'll eat before it's in the bottles?"

"A lot of it." Rex kissed her, the sap on his cheek touching her nose.

Megan hugged his shoulders. "I love you, Rex."

"I love you, Megan." Rex touched her eyelids. "Do you remember how the tree looked last year?"

Megan nodded. "Yeah. Eddie's and Susan's are orange, and Bartholomew's is red."

Rex looped his arm through hers. "Bartholomew's favorite color was red."

Megan picked up a leaf from the ground. "This one is red, right?"

Tucking the leaf into her hair, Rex folded his hands around the back of her neck. "Yes. You don't need your eyesight to tell, do you?"

"No. I could just kind of guess, knowing we were near Bartholomew's tree."

"Do want to climb it?"


Rex hoisted her up and she felt for a branch to hold onto. Once they were in the branches, Rex put his arm around her waist. "Dear Lord, please help us as we remember our children. We miss them, and wish they hadn't gone, but You know best. Please comfort us, help us with Megan's blindness, and give us your mighty, powerful strength to keep going each day. Thank you for these trees, and their bright colors. They can remind us of You, and how despite all the darkness that we see, there is still the color of Your love."

Megan brushed her fingers against the leaf. "In Jesus' Name, Amen."

This month's Chatterbox theme was Maples.


Emily Ann Putzke said...

Awww, this was really sweet. Great job! =)

Molly said...

Thank you!