Thanksgiving 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 http://redpinemountain.com.