The taste of spring


In Ukraine it’s birch sap collecting time. All through the forests there are glass jars and earthenware jugs propped at the base of the trees, filling with the essence of spring.

“It’s running well,” says the man I meet in the wood, hammering hollow elder-wood spouts into the white tree trunks to channel this unstoppable flow.

Fresh from the tree, it tastes like the most delicious water you could dream of. A little bit green, a little bit gold; eversoslightly sweet, a tang of moss and mould and earth and promise. It runs and runs like magic.

The birch sap’s flowing the same way blood runs faster now that the sun’s shining and the world’s turning and summer’s coming.

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