"So I know a lot about survival and stuff," Mason said, his chubby hand hanging onto mine as he pulled me into the forest.
I ducked underneath a branch and followed his lead. "Oh, yeah? Like what?"
"Like knowing what you can eat," Mason said. He pulled me past a bristly evergreen and nearly ran me into a low branch on a maple tree. He was a lot shorter than I was.
I fingered the glorious red leaves on the branch that nearly decapitated me. "What about this one? Can you eat it?"
"That's a helicopter tree," Mason said, his face lighting up. "If you get a bunch of helicopters, you can throw them in the air and they fly like this." He dropped my hand, spread his arms out, and spun furiously until he collapsed flat on the ground.
I smothered a laugh.
He sat up, with red leaves plastered all over him, looking to me for my comprehension.
So I nodded wisely.
He grinned and scrambled to his feet in a way that only little boys can.
"But I guess you can't eat a helicopter tree, huh?" I finished.
His eyes went wide in defense of his tree. "Yuh-huh," he countered. "You can eat the seeds out of the helicopters. But you gotta cook it. Brant did it once."
"Really?" I asked surprised. Who knew the pretty tree could be so useful?
"And you can eat the baby leaves...but not the old ones," he said, making a face and sticking his tongue out as though it tasted horrible.
I nodded wisely again.
"Aaaaaaannnnndddd," Mason added, raising his eyebrows to let me know that the climax was coming, "you can eat the syrup!"
Maple syrup. Of course. Why didn't I think of that?
I turned and looked the tree over. "How do you get the syrup out?" I asked.
"Call Brant," Mason said. It was his turn to nod wisely.
Yeah. I had a feeling I would be calling Brant for a lot of things out here.