Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - my hiker's feet silhouetted against a sunlit canopy of vermont trees - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

pathways….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - pine forest trail - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

and waterways… and walkways ….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - rivers and ponds - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - mountain streams and bridges - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

we interrupt this summer to share meals… meditation… direction….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - meals and meditations - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - trail blazes - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - trail signs - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

and glimpses of yesteryear….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - remnants of yesteryear - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - moss-covered stone wall - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

… to share the welcoming of shelter …..

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tenting in campsites - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - lodgings - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

and expressions … of friendship … of kindness … of courage ….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - trail friends - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

to share the splendor of meadows and mountains…

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - meadow views - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - sky sightings - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - morning sky - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - morning meadow - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

and wise old souls …

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - wise old trees - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - more wise old trees - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

and astonishing beings …

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - wise trail beings - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - orange newts - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

we interrupt this summer to bring you a wealth of tiny dazzling things….

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - flowers - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - berries - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - fungi - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - more fungi - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - yet more fungi - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - still more fungi - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - greens - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - autumn leaves - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

Yes, I’ve been walking again.

Slowly and solo, again in the New England woods.

This time, a short 50-mile section of the Appalachian Trail. That little bit of the AT in central Vermont where it breaks away from the Long Trail — a point called Maine Junction — and ventures eastward, to cross the Connecticut River at the border of New Hampshire. It’s a gorgeous, pastoral section of trail (and — thankfully — not nearly as rugged as much of the Long Trail), winding mostly under 2500 feet of elevation. Which means much of the path leads through rolling low elevation hardwood forests of birch and maple, beech and hemlock.

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - trail above Inn at Long Trail - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tiny beautiful things - forest path- photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

I don’t know how much longer I’ll get to enjoy the shade of the hemlocks… The changing climate means they’re particularly vulnerable, as are so many of the Beings that blessed me with their presence these handful of days.
All the more reason I feel an urgency to get out there now, while they hold on, while my aging body can still carry me through these woods.

How many times a day did I reflect on Emerson’s quote….

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - tree quote image created by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

Or recited the words of Mary Oliver.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

(from The Summer Day)

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - sunrise below Thistle Hill Shelter - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - sunrise light below Thistle Hill Shelter - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

My question to you is this:

When are you going out there, to the fields, to the forest, or the plains, the mesas or the waterways, or even your city park, your own back yard?

When are you going out and leaving
your phone behind?
Go — go now.
Go this weekend.
Don’t bring your phone. Promise me you’ll leave your phone behind.

Go find a quiet spot.
Close your eyes and breathe. Deeply.
Listen for a long while.

Then open your eyes, and look around.
Look.
See.
Breathe.
Notice.

Enjoy.

Don’t thank me.

Thank
your Self
Thank
your one wild and precious life.

 

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - sunrise light below Thistle Hill Shelter - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - this short journey's end - the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, above the Connecticut River - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - silhouetted against a morning meadow - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail - just east of VT Rte 12 - photo by TaosDawn - Santa Fe artist and backpacker Dawn Chandler

 

 


Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you enjoy my musings here, please feel free to share this post!

And remember that you can always find more of my stories, insights and art on Instagram, Facebook and via my Inside the Studio Notes.

Very Artfully & Gratefully Yours ~

Dawn