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Morning star

02/25/06 12:00AM By Alan Boye
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(HOST) Commentator Alan Boye thinks that greeting the sun on an early morning walk is one of the best ways to brighten up a late winter day.

(BOYE) I awoke before dawn, slipped on my coat and boots and headed out the door for an early morning walk. The sun had not yet risen, and high above the Vermont hills the planet Venus burned like a bright, pinprick of fire against the coming light.

A caw, caw came from somewhere above me. I looked up. On the high, gray branches of a bare maple tree, hunched over like town gossips, were three black crows. They sat there, cackling and chattering as I passed beneath them.

One of the great things about this time of year is that it's easy to watch the sun rise. Earlier in the winter most of us are well into our days by the time dawn comes; and in mid summer the sun is up and burning before we even roll out of bed; this is the perfect season to enjoy the first light of day.

I climbed a hill. The shining dot of Venus played hide and seek among the bare, dark woods to my side. All of the other stars had faded, and the sky had turned pale yellow.A car came down the hill, followed in a moment by a rattling pick up truck. I waved at the drivers but they were focused on the day ahead, and didn't notice me.

I reached Mr. Ladd's barn at the edge of the village. I couldn't see him, but the barn door was open and I knew he was in there, milking.

I stopped and studied the sky. It was much brighter, but to my surprise I could still see Venus. It had faded to a ghostly light, but I could still find it in the pale blue sky. I wondered it if would be possible to see it even after the sun had fully risen.

I stood motionless, determined not to take my eyes off the planet. I stood for so long my neck began to hurt, but finally bright sunlight began to turn the woods to gold. I blinked, squinted my eyes, and there - like a faint phantom - I found the small, pale-yellow disc of Venus in the morning sky.

I soon lost it in the deepening blue, but the memory of it lingered the entire day long.

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.
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