Can you feel the sap running today? (March 3 newsletter)

Sweet — That scent in the air like caramel over wood smoke — it feels almost unreal after all this last year, but it’s here. The sap is boiling. I’m standing in a friend’s backyard around an iron stove adapted over the years, and I can smell the future hint of maple syrup that doesn’t exist yet. It will.

This feels so much like the kind of night when musicians would crowd around someone’s living room, lean against the walls and rip into reels without sheet music. You’d play until you’re loosened up and out of breath and your fingers are moving faster than you can follow.

And I know we’re not there yet. We’re still moving cautiously from one day to the next and taking care how we breathe, for everyone’s safety. All the same, this week keeps handing me glimpses me of times past, and they’re good times to remember. I’m coming across people I’ve talked to, conversations that have stayed with me, and found out they’ll be talking with us again.

Here’s a photographer whose work I once saw at the college museum — a couple were sitting together in the kitchen, staunchly close and tense over a newspaper. And now her work has come downtown to encourage us.

And here’s an early spring night of the kind of music I miss intensely right now, though local music is still going on around us … It belongs in my mind with raw March and logs in the wood stove and dancing. And so along with all these present happenings, I’m offering it for the future.

This column opened the March 3 BTW newsletter. You can find this one and recent newsletters in the newsletter archive, with stories and events, and you can sign up for the free newsletter here any time. It comes out weekly, and you’ll see it in your inbox on Thursday mornings.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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