The days are getting longer now and the sun sits higher in the sky. The sugar maples stretch after a long cold winter. Soon their sweet sap will run and the fires will be lit at maple sugar houses for all night boiling vigils. The fires must be continually stoked, and watched. Dreams are cooking. You can see the evidence as white smoke billows out from the rooftops of maple sugar houses and sweet steam rises filling the air.
The farmer's dream is to boil the sap collected from the maple tree into maple syrup in a span of 4 to 6 weeks. If you ever visit a sugar house during boiling season you will find a happy crew of farmers, neighbors and friends talking about the past winter and making predictions for this year's maple season. People support one another during the long boiling time while the dream is cooking. Making maple syrup is not a venture "to go alone" as the process is demanding. Temperatures have to be watched, the fires can't go out and every year the season depends on just the right weather conditions. The farmer's job is to be ready with lines tapped into the sugar maples, enough wood to keep the evaporator boiling the sap and good company with people who share their passion. In the end, the farmer's dream of making maple syrup will come pouring down on our pancakes and waffles.
We can learn a lot from the maple sugar farmer about cooking dreams. Like the farmer, if we are going to realize our dreams, we must make them a priority. We need to stay focused by keeping our attention on the end result; the maple syrup. Always share the boil time with other passionate dreamers. It makes the eventual obstacles and distractions easier to overcome and passion is contagious. Most of all be flexible; the weather isn't always predictable.
Just as the farmer has modernized the process of collecting and boiling sap to be more efficient, we may need to upgrade and look for additional tools and resources to make our dreams a reality.
Remember some dreams, like maple syrup, come with an expiration date. If we don't do something about them they will eventually evaporate in the bucket.
What actions will you take this month to bring your dreams to a simmering boil?