The Seasonal Hiking of Blue Hill Mountain

If I didn't take near-daily walks and hikes, I'd be sunk. I sit a lot while focused on business emails, texts, and phone calls, and as the day wears on, I feel the need to at least show up on the south side of Blue Hill Mountain to get my circulatory and cardiovascular minimums in for the day. Our mountain is more of a tall hill, really, just under 1,000 feet in height. We know it's a hill because that is the name of our town. And don't hills have to be at least 1,000 feet to be a labeled as mountains? We who live here think of it as a mountain because it is the tallest thing around to climb; and when you scale a mountain, doesn't it sound better when you tell your friends you just 'went up the mountain'? To further subtly support its bigness, you've got to drive onto Mountain Road to get to the trailhead. So we're happy with our descriptive confusion because we know we can say we've 'hiked the Mountain' when the price was only a hill-hike worth of effort. Such a deal.

I love the different seasonal surfaces to walk while on the same pathways I tread going up.

In winter, you may need to add ice cleats to your shoes to ensure confident footing, especially coming back down, it's easier to slip on icy surfaces while descending.   

In spring, the pathways are wet with small streams and rivulets that flow across your way dozens of times before you reach the top. The wetness of brief rainstorms is muted by the canopy of evergreens and hardwood leaves that hang continuously over the trail.

In summer, the flying insects are out in force, dodging and dancing from sunlit-splash on the trail to shadows of the trees, to either snag a meal of other smaller flying insects or enhance their mating chances by zooming in wide swathes in swarms that vary from a few too many hundreds of little beings.

In the fall, the squirrels are the most chattery and fitful, darting quickly about, then stopping abruptly, "Chirp Chirp" with a foot stamping, then scampering off to find holes for the 2 or 3 acorns stuffed in their mouths.

But I think I love the deep dark of a winter hike at dusk and early night most of all. No lamp or light is needed or wanted. Ironically, to illuminate would be to become blind to what is all around. When the daylight further fades, the snow becomes a deep luminous blue as if light has been absorbed from the day, frozen in, then radiates to the dark at the lowest setting of glow. All is very still and with the kind of silence-blanket that muffles the crunch of your boot and your breathing, making the smallest of sounds quickly disappear in the gathering darkness. And when the stars start to shine and the crescent moon rises, it's a benediction of beauty bestowed upon only you, alone in that moment and place when you are assured of being a tiny but very real piece of the infinite.

Best of health,

Terry M. Cross

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