Happiness, Friendship and a Surprise
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light ~ Helen Keller
So recently I was back east, my siblings and I threw a surprise 75th birthday party for my mother. It was a good trip, the party went well, my mother was totally surprised. I got to see all of my siblings, nieces and nephews as well as some good friends. So a really wonderful trip.
Along with the opportunity to see my family I also took a couple of side trips, did a little photography in several cemeteries and had dinner with a couple of old friends.
On my way out-of-town I had plans to see a friend who I had hiked with on the Appalachian Trail, the Mad Hatter, who is now living in the Berkshire Mountains. So I headed over to his new home and he suggested we take a small hike and have a lunch on the trail. I of course said yes and as we headed to the trail he asked if I knew where we were going, I didn’t. He told me it was someplace I knew that had significance for both of us, I was intrigued. Honestly, I’m rarely surprised in life, so I was a bit excited as this was certainly going to be a surprise wherever it was.
The Appalachian Trail
On the Appalachian Trail I was hiking on my third day with my friend Backtrack, I talk a lot about Backtrack in my book Appalachian Trail Happiness. We were sitting eating lunch when along game a happy looking fellow carrying a stuffed Mad Hatter on his back. This of course, was the Mad Hatter. We would end up being on the trail together for a month or so, he was a faster hiker but we ended up being in several places together including some great little cabins a night or so after we met. It’s a funny thing about experiences like hiking the AT, you sometimes cement deep friendships in a short period of time, it was like this with the Mad Hatter. We’ve actually become better friends since the trail and he’s one of those people I have a feeling he’s someone I’ll be friends with for a long time.
Once we hit the trail he again asked if I knew where we were, I didn’t, he smiled and was quite pleased that it would be a surprised. The trail was beautiful, fall is my absolute favorite time of year to be hiking and there isn’t much better than New England in October. The ground was a multi-colored carpet of leaves, the trees were changing, so reds and yellows were interspersed with the deep green of the evergreen trees. There was a light rain falling but the weather was beautiful and truly I felt lighter than I have in a long time walking up that trail.
We hit a point on the trail, a beautiful little fern field and honestly at that moment it should have clicked where I was but I was enjoying the walk and the conversation so it didn’t register.
It was literally a few yards further when I saw the sign, I smiled and Mad Hatter asked, know where you are now?
I had just recently posted something about Warner Hill and seeing that post gave Mad Hatter the idea. I’m so glad it did, Warner Hill had been one of my absolute favorite spots on the Appalachian Trail during my hike. I had come there with another good friend, Bryan, while doing my first full test hike after hurting my knee. The hill in July was amazing, lush green, great view and more blueberries in one spot than I have ever seen. There were hundreds of tall bushes full of berries, it would not shock me if there are hundreds of thousands of blueberries on this hill.
We had a Mad Hatter picnic, sitting on an emergency blanket in the light rain. He introduced me to a sandwich he’d been introduced to decades before in the Alps. Slices of apples with hard cheese and brown mustard on good bread, it was absolutely delicious. We had a pleasant conversation, I was elated, to be in this wonderful spot, with a wonderful friend, to have been surprised by him and to hear the story of how he’s become happier now than he may have ever been in his life was truly a blessing. It was one of those lovely perfect days that we just don’t have enough of and I’m indebted to him for that time.
I try to pull a little bit of wisdom each week from what I write in these posts. This week it’s easy my friends, take the time to be with the people who are close to you, the people who make you happy. Not just to say hello, not just a note or a card, find a way to see them, spend time with them and do something amazing with them, life’s too short, not to.
Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
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