I stand on the uneven slope and breathe in, feeling the crisp air fill my lungs. Today is the day, I thought. The day of change. I am the last one this year. All day, I will stand in the meadow, breathing in and out, in and out, until my mind is filled with only the rhythm of my breath. Then I will change. My feet will go first, bare toes lengthening and hardening into roots of all sizes and shapes. Then my legs, morphing together and growing into a long trunk. After that, my torso, solidifying into maple wood. My arms will raise, leafy branches reaching up to the last rays of sun in the skies. My closed eyes become wood, hair growing into twigs and leaves. I can’t see, but that does not bother me. I am intune with Mother Nature. I feel her heartbeat. I sense her love for all the things from the earth. The world is quiet. I sleep. For how long, I don’t know. Then, sometime in February, a presence awakens me. I know the cold, I know it’s there, but I don’t feel it. A little girl wraps her arms around me, and I am content. She breathes deeply, then run to a man with buckets in his arms. That one, I feel her say, pointing at me, That one. Maybe, he replies, it’s only just big enough. I feel a gentle tapping against where my kneecap should be, and it tickles, ever so slightly. I know the man is putting a tap in me, but I don’t mind. The little girl returns with the man every other day, for a couple of weeks. After the sap stops flowing, they come to retrieve the bucket and tap. I sleep. I wake when the sun shines enough to warm the air, and I turn back, head, arms, torso, legs, feet. For the rest of the day, I stand on the uneven slope and breathe.