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Thanksgiving walk

11/27/04 12:00AM By Alan Boye
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(Host) Commentator Alan Boye says that even a short walk in familiar surroundings can be satisfying.


(Boye) The house is not yet awake, as I slip on my winter boots. I don't bother to zip them up, because I'm just going be outside for a few minutes to get a quick sense of the gray and wet November morning. The house is still full of loved ones, home for the holiday and I know I'll be inside a lot today.

The instant I step outside I can smell the pungent odor of my neighbor's farm. It's that time of year, and he's been spreading manure on his fields outside of town. I don't mind it, for the acrid smell in the cold air seems every bit a part of this Vermont season.

From very the top of the bare-branched maple, a crow shouts my arrival to its friends. After a brief pause, its caw caw! is repeated, far off in the town woods: caw, caw!

I step off the driveway in order to take a tour of my own yard. I cross the muted flattened blades of what so recently was a green and vibrant lawn. It feels like I am walking on a foam-rubber cushion. I stoop to inspect a small ridge in the matted lawn. Moles. Ever since our neighbor Nancy moved and took her cats with her, the critters have been having a field day.

I walk past the crab apple tree. Tiny red fruit - like brilliant crimson flames - shine everywhere on its thin branches. Every time I pass this beautiful tree, I always remember the fine friends who long ago gave it as a gift.

I inspect my blueberry bushes and then circle the garden. A thin white line of snow - left over from last weekend's short, wet storm - frames the black earth of the hibernating garden. In the garden lines of short sticks mark the rows of garlic we planted last month. In the deep earth, each garlic waits patiently for spring's rebirth.

I pass the brush pile, and the skeletons of lilac bushes. I spy the dormant buds of the apple tree and then - like a kid - kick my way through a scattering of golden oak leaves.

I finally circle around the house to the still-pretty remains of the flower garden. The plants stand like a delicate bouquet, no less beautiful now that all the flowers have turned to straw.

Just as I reach the back door again, I hear movement inside the house. My friends and family are awake and talking. I open the door and step inside into the warmth of family on this most thanks-giving of weekends.

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. His latest book is titled, "Just Walking the Hills of Vermont."
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