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May colors

05/24/04 12:00AM By Alan Boye
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(Host) Recently Commentator Alan Boye spent some time in Townsend State Park. While there, he made some discoveries. He joins us today to share some thoughts.

(Boye) It's late on a gray, spring afternoon and Townsend State Park is abandoned. It will be weeks yet before the campground is full of wood smoke and the bright sounds of children playing along the West River.

It's so late in the day I don't have time to make it to the top of Bald Mountain and back. Instead I have decided to take a leisurely walk up the trail and simply go as far as I can before it's time to head back.

I cross a dark-colored creek over a brown, wooden bridge. The bridge echoes with the clip-clop, clip-clop of my boots. I step back onto the trail and walk past sharp-edged rocks that have long ago tumbled down from the steep canyon walls.

The creek rushes through a chute formed between two buttresses of stone. I almost walk right past it before I realize what I see. The twin walls are not simply boulders, but are the stone blocks of an old mill site.

The waters of the creek roar through the space between the wet walls. A paddlewheel once rested on the two stone columns. Here the creek - made powerful by the swelling waters of spring - moved that paddlewheel, and the paddlewheel powered a mill.

Today the blue waters of the creek cascade over the eroded dam and thunder down the canyon in a white foam. The trail climbs away from the creek, hugging the side of a hill. I walk past several ferns: They are like delicate wings of green, vibrant feathers that jump from the lifeless black earth.

Although it's dark in the canyon, golden shafts of the warm spring sunset light the hilltop above. I can see in that pulsating air the shimmering green glow of new leaves budding out into the coming summer.

The trail climbs until it reaches a high shoulder. I step off the trail and onto a boulder the color of dull silver. From the crest of the boulder I can see to the far landscape beyond.

Crane Mountain sits perched beyond the tumbling waters of the West River. Beyond it, Peaked Mountain scrapes the sky; and beyond that endless hills lie open and greening in the coming season.

A shaft of the setting sunlight suddenly warms my back. The golden light eases the lingering chill from the cool shadows of the canyon below.

This is Alan Boye just walking the hills of Vermont.

Alan Boye teaches at Lyndon State College. He spoke from our studio in Norwich.
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