The woods were soft beneath his boots. The frost had given way to muck and there wasn't much left for the season. All was quiet except for the subterranean trickle of snow runoff somewhere somehow seeking lower ground.
Breathing deeply, he thought to himself how strange it is that Springtime represents rebirth and life, but smells more like rot.
Peering under the hood, he looked into the bucket: not much sap left. He pulled the spigot and a few drops dripped onto his fingers. Sweet but thin and watery. It was over.
He cleaned the spigot and emptied the bucket into the drum which he would wheel back to the shack for boiling. He looked back at the tree and noticed that a few tears of sap had squeezed from the hole drilled just a few weeks ago. In the sunlight, he could see a glistening trail was left behind as they trickled down the trunk.
"I'll be back next Spring," he said quietly.
"I know," she replied, "it's just that,"
"It's just that what?"
"I love you."
He didn't know what to say.
"Why?" he asked, meaning it.
But there was no answer. Trees, he thought, who could understand them?