The Flamed Connections with Maples
In a guest blog on Unscripted, Munkaila Musah, a PhD student in forest molecular genetics and biotechnology in the School of Forest Resource and Environmental Science, writes of the forests that connect his roots in Ghana to the doctoral work he now does in the Northwoods. He has cultivated a special connection to maple trees.
I was born in the forest and grew up with plants from the tropical rainforest; I felt good with nature. Little did I know how deep I was routed in this connection until my first call by a maple tree in October last year when I arrived in the US. I entered a flame of unlimited excitation with the aesthetic beauty of four mixed colors on the same tree that slowed my heartbeat and recalibrated my affinity for nature.
This enthrallment excited my curiosity about this North American hard wood; I wanted to dig beyond the magnificent beauty that outshone other trees and triggered a stream of unlimited consciousness.
I then met Jerry Jondreau who introduced me to the Ojibwe culture. He shared the Anishinaabeg (original peoples) history of the region and traditions associated with the sugar maple trees. He introduced me to the sugar maples outside his house in the traditional fashion and offered my tobacco and good intentions.
The rich satisfaction of understanding the nature of the maple tree kept me rooted in my quest of knowing. I knew this connection from trying on my first pair of snowshoes to walk in the snow to the maple trees, fixing the bag for collection, my first touch of the spile or tap, drilling and installing the spile in the tree, the hammering and attaching the collection bag to the spile.
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