Justine Amodeo 2017-09-05 10:12:57
LAST WORDS ON WHERE WE TRAVEL AND WHY When I arrived in Vermont to begin my first year of college, it was the bucolic hills of winter, with icicles drooping from snowy boughs and powdery slopes beckoning skiers, that colored my imagination. It was mostly a vision in white—cumulus clouds with splotches of blue sky and blinding snow glistening in the morning light. But soon came the fall, and with it, the mottled trees that turned deep vermilion, burnt sienna and fiery gold, quilting the mountains and leaving a carpet of whirling, crackling leaves. Deciduous trees put on this technicolor display all over New England, where the mountains become nature’s canvas, bringing harvest festivals, craft fairs and fruit orchards ripe for picking. The foliage is most dazzling from late-September to mid-October, especially along Vermont’s 11-mile Green Mountain Byway on the way to Stowe. There, maple, birch and beech trees cover the forested slopes with easy access to hiking in the fall. I found myself traveling the Byway again, 10 years later, going through a difficult time, fighting an illness and full of fear. A wise friend drove me up a country road and stopped beside a dazzling maple tree. That tree, she said, had been around for a long time. She told me to be like this tree, in a state of change and ready to completely surrender its beautiful leaves to the elements, becoming naked and cold in the winter, trusting that come spring, new buds would form and life would burst forth in the summer. I pulled a scarlet leaf from a branch and pressed it flat in a book of William Wordsworth poems that I still covet. The leaf sat atop a poem called “The Tables Turned,” where a friend declares: And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher: Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.
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