(HOST) One of commmentator Alan Boye’s favorite post-Thanksgiving activies is a walk – with friends.
(BOYE) Every year around this time some friends of mine invite about twenty people up to their cabin in Concord, Vermont to give thanks, have a big meal and to enjoy one another’s company. Well, I had just finished my second helping of pumpkin pie,
when somebody suggested a walk. It took another ten minutes, but finally we got outside.
Several of us trudged up hill through a path in the woods. Fifteen years ago, this hillside had been clear-cut. Now the woods are coming back. At the side of the trail, the bare-branched skeletons of birch and pin cherry cluttered the landscape.
Snow had fallen, but the way up the hill was easy to see. I walked with a small group of men. We talked about each other’s families, where the kids were, how the parents are. We talked of work and of pleasure in the easy way that old friends chat.
Someone stopped and we gathered together to inspect a pile
of moose scat. In the snow the monster’s prints disappeared
into the woods.
My friend’s property hugs the east side of a tall hill at the end
of a Vermont Class IV road. Nothing much but open land stands between it and the towering White Mountains to the east. It’s good moose country, and bear.
We had been climbing for about ten minutes. We were moving slower than usual. All of us were loaded up with the extra pounds we’d just consumed, so it was a good thing when we came to the top
of the hill.
We moved on a level path until it turned to a rocky ledge. My friends – the owners of this land – knew this spot well, for they
had set up lawn chairs along the width of the boulder. Some
of us sat, while others simply stood and stared.
The clouds were rolling in from the northwest, and there were flurries in the air, but the snow-covered mountains to the east
were bright and gold in the late afternoon sunlight. The brilliance
of the view brought us to silence.
None of us said a word for a long moment.
The sky. The mountains. The very air. There is so much to be thankful for.
In that quiet moment came voices. Soon others joined us. I looked around. Fifteen people now stood on the outcrop: we were of all ages and descriptions, but one thing was the same in everyone’s mind: there is no substitute for the joy we find in friendship.
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 Saint Johnsbury.