Chimney Ridge is a collection of short stories that reveal how the production of maple syrup can bring a father and daughter closer together. Based on the author's experience of growing up on a maple syrup farm near Wiarton, Ontario, Heather From shows how a unique childhood of producing maple syrup has helped to define herself, while affecting her relationship with her parents.
“Dad, how far are we going today?” I ask.
I grasp a black spile between my thumb and index finger and twist and pull the tiny piece of plastic from a hole in the side of a maple tree. Sap spills from the spile. I hold the blue line, connected to the end of the spile, away from me.
Sap sprays back at me like water spewing from an old, cracked tap, showering my cheeks and traveling along my face in winding pathways down my neck and into the opening of my red and brown plaid shirt. The steady spray of sap calms into a trickle and I place the spile back into the hole of the tree, high above my head. My shirt clings to my damp chest and forearms. The last few drops of sap drip from my chin onto the soft ground, intricately woven with patches of moss, mud, twigs and decomposing leaves left over from fall. I think about the naturalized zones on the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, but they’re nothing compared to the ninety acres of woods on my family’s property in Wiarton.
I shiver. My clothes turn cold in the April air.
“We are going until we can’t feel our hands,” Dad replies. He pulls a spile from a tree and forces the opening of the spile towards the ground with ease. Sap gushes into a small crevice, turning the rocks on either side dark and sticky.
It is eight in the morning. My hands are freezing.
An excerpt from "Blue Lines"