Color of Sunlight

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(Host) Commentator Alan Boye observes that during a Vermont summer, sunlight comes in many colors.

(Boye) Oh how I would love to wrap up a big chunk of this sun-dappled day and save it for some dark, wintry night. It’s a late afternoon in early July; and although I’m just starting up Prospect Rock Trail near Johnson Vermont, the sun is still high in a deep blue sky. By late August the gift of these extra hours will have almost vanished, but now these long and wonderful evenings are full of exuberant light.

I turn around for a last look at the Lamoille River. On its shimmering waters the sun’s white light sparkles like shattered crystal.

The path to Prospect Rock is a part of the Long Trail and I see the first of its white blazes gleaming on a sun-lit boulder. I enter the trees and soon more shining blazes appear in the brilliant woods.

Fir trees stand dark and cool in their emerald shadows. Above me is a green and golden canopy of leaves. Maples, and birches, and pin cherry trees crowd the rocky hillside. Below them a knee-high carpet of feathery ferns shines a vibrant green.

I walk into the lengthening shadows of day. I walk past thickets; and robins whistle as they watch me pass. From deep in the woods comes the song of an ovenbird: tea-cheer, tea-cheer, tea-cheer – it calls, and then falls silent for a moment. Tea-cheer, tea-cheer, tea-cheer.

Everywhere I look shadows and splashes of light dance on the dappled-green earth. The golden light penetrates deep into the living woods and I walk, transfixed by the mystery of it all.

To be alive! To just be walking these Vermont hills in this perfect daylight – the mere fact of simply being here, of simply being aware – stuns me with a sudden thrill.

The trail opens out onto the bare stone of Prospect Rock. I stand at the granite lip in full sunlight. Across the narrow Lamoille Valley the tall, dark peaks of the Green Mountains rise up into the shimmering air. Below, amid patchy green fields, the silver ribbon of the river glistens in the light.

The long summer evening allows me to keep walking. I head north down an ancient woods road then up a sparkling creek. A man and a woman approach me on the trail. It is only after they have stopped to chat that I see the smiling baby snuggled in a pack on the man’s back. I am introduced to her. “Hello Sophia!” I say to her. She coos and giggles and answers with the brightest smile I have ever seen.

This is Alan Boye just walking the hills of Vermont.

Alan Boye teaches at Lyndon State College. He spoke from our studio at the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury.

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