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Journey To The Top of Red Pine Mountain

A Red Pine Mountain LogoThanksgiving is almost here.  Time to join with friends and family to celebrate our blessings.  One thing for which I am grateful is the opportunity to live on a farm.  Yes, the hours are long and the work is hard but the blessings from living close to the land surpass any hardship Mountain Man and I endure.  Please join me as I walk to the top of our beautiful mountain farm.

There was a full moon and a hard frost last night. The leaves are finally down from the trees and I wanted to hike to the top of Red Pine Mountain. The last time I was there, I was surrounded in a canopy of color and I am anxious to see how the scenery has changed.

My two shepherds join me and we decide to take the long way around our mountain to enjoy the rare November sunshine.

As we cross streams, the dogs stop to drink icy water while I straddle fallen logs to stay dry.

We continue on deep into our woods where there is an old cemetery forgotten by time. The carving on the headstones has almost disappeared with the ravages of many winters yet the graves are still standing. I wonder about the people who lived on this land before me and my heart contracts as I see the many tiny headstones standing as a testament to a time when life was intertwined with death. The dogs are quiet by my side as I say silent, heartfelt prayers for these early settlers of Vermont.

We continue on our journey. The dogs’ paws make crackling sounds as they joyously bound ahead over the golden leaves which cover our path. Their enthusiasm is contagious and I am filled with their love of life.

It’s steep now and no longer a real path; just overgrown brush. The dogs walk carefully in single file. I need do nothing except follow them.

We are at the top of Red Pine Mountain and the world falls away below us.

I am in awe.

We stay for awhile. The dogs play fight, stopping now and then to sniff under a fallen log, searching for treasures known only to them. I am still; lost in thoughts of my new life on this remote mountain. The wind lifts fallen leaves and they swirl around me.

I am humbled by the majesty of my surroundings and I am reminded that I am only a steward of the land, holding it in trust for future generations.

The sun is starting to set yet I am reluctant to break the spell which has fallen over me. I finally call to the dogs and we begin our steep descent. With each step, I stop to admire small things, seemingly inconsequential but exquisite in their own right; the one leaf left on a tree, the ferns now frozen until next spring.

Our farm lies in the valley. We’re almost there. I can see it now. Smoke is swirling from the chimney, the horses are in their pasture and the dogs we left at home are barking a greeting. The familiar embraces me.

I am home.

May the joy of family and friends surround you this Thanksgiving holiday.

Mountain Woman and Mountain Man can be found at

mountain woman
11/30/2010 7:34:31 AM

Hi Oz Girl, Your winters must be spectacular because of your beautiful wide open skies. How are your guineas doing? My babies are okay when the snow is on the ground but won't come out when it's actually snowing. Yes, the quiet is wonderful. Just so different from all the sounds at different times of year. Thanks for visiting me!

oz girl
11/29/2010 8:58:26 AM

Your words painted a thousand pictures. :-) And I agree - there is beauty in this frigid time of year. I was walking around our pond a few days ago, and the cold air lends a different kind of quiet, a crispy-ness that I adore. The soon-to-come snow will only enhance that quiet and make our landscape even more breathtakingly beautiful. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing.

mountain woman
11/24/2010 10:21:42 AM

Cindy, I love this time of year and I'm anticipating the first real snowfall as well. There is magic in the woods no matter the time of year. Yes, I have much to celebrate and I'm anxiously awaiting the birth of my first grandchild so that makes this holiday even more special. My best to you and your family this holiday. Thank you for your kind words.

mountain woman
11/24/2010 10:14:39 AM

Dave, You broached such a complicated subject. I wish we could sit down and have a discussion about it. I abhor some uses of the land such as turning farm land into mega mansions. And I understand what you say about making nature conform to our will. So many examples you can cite where we've run amuck. No pictures this time. I just wanted to return to my writing roots instead of doing the short photo essays I've been doing on my blog. There's a writer in me somewhere. Here's to a very happy holiday to you surrounded by your wonderful family. As always, thanks so much for your kindness to me. I appreciate it.

cindy murphy
11/24/2010 8:33:03 AM

Beautiful descriptions, Mountain Woman. I can almost hear the crunch of the leaves, and smell the scent of the forest; I love the way the woods smell, especially in autumn. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving; it seems as if you've got much to celebrate.

nebraska dave
11/24/2010 8:12:32 AM

@MW, what no pictures? It sound very beautiful up on Red Pine Mountain. There are no mountains in Nebraska but there are bluffs along the Missouri river. There are lookout points to observe the valley below and take in the meandering river. The river in pioneer days was much wider and wilder than today. As with all things, man decides they know best and squeezed the river into its present channel. They built water control dams and dikes to make it behave just the way man thought it should. They even changed the course of the river channel because it just had too many twists and turns near the city which caused flooding. As a result the river is now a fast running river. Some say the fastest in North America. I understand about progress and making life easier for civilization, but my heart wonders about how man in his supposedly wisdom has tried to change the course of nature all for the sake of civilization. For all of man’s efforts, if left on its own, the land would revert back to the wild original form in just a few short years and building structures would crumble to dust in not so many decades. Have a great Thanksgiving day.