Just after high school graduation, my family and I moved north. First to Michigan, then to Vermont. We spent a longer time in Vermont, and my memories are much more pleasant of that state and that time. We moved in the fall – the air was sparkling and clear – the temperature most pleasant. We stayed in a local motel for a short period, and then we were able to find an apartment. I felt a little at loss since I didn’t have to register for any school, so I spent my time accompanying my mother doing household stuff. We weathered a winter (with two feet of snow and 20° below temperature.) Then, in the late spring, I found a job working for the YMCA day camp. While a counselor at this Y, I made a few friends. One weekend several of us got together to hike up a mountain called Mount Mansfield – this was the tallest in the Green Mountain chain. Not as tall as many mountains, but nonetheless, tall for that part of the world. When observed from an east or west vantage, the profile of the mountain looks like that of a long face – the chin is the highest portion. We hiked on one of the four trails, probably to the chin, since the trail was mostly under trees. It was a very lovely summer day – only slightly warm, the air was fresh with a slight pungency of composting undergrowth for seasoning. I’m thinking I was really naive about hiking, so I admit to a lack of deportment – I feel as if I complained all the way up. Huffing and puffing, each footing demanded a higher and higher step and one more groan. Geesh, I remember thinking, would we ever reach the top? I don’t recall if my loud complaints were noticed, but I was not chastised for my behavior. Anyway, if it was noticed, I do hope my fellow hikers have long forgotten and forgiven my transgression.
At long last, my groaning was rewarded. Trees thinned, and soon there were none. We were now above the tree line. I do remember gasping in awe. Standing on the bedrock of mica-albite-quartz and gradually looking around me, I regretted every groan. The view from this point was wonderful – I could see New York and Lake Champlain on the west, New Hampshire on the east. The breeze gently tossed my hair, yet felt like velvet on my face. The sun gave a little more warmth. I don’t think we spent too much time on the top, as we needed to hike back down. However, it was much easier going back and I think it was partially due to the memory of what I had just seen. So, thank you Ms. G., friend and fellow blogger, for instigating my recollection.