Woah! This is it friends... It's December 31st, last day of the year and the FINALE of 52 Weeks of the Ledges! Man, has this month flown by. I feel pretty psyched that I accidentally remembered to go hiking today (?!) and thus, by the skin of my teeth, I have completed a full year of weekly hiking the lovely ledges trail through one little part of the Hogback ridge of the Vermont Green Mountains, aka, my backyard. Truth be told, I've had some back trouble recently and haven't be able to hike for a few weeks. Pout. Sniff. So 52 weeks is not quite a precise number - its more like 48 or so, But thanks to my amazing chiropractor, some essential oils, rest and good old fashioned hot and cold compresses, I was able to take to the hill today! I had to squeeze one more hike in, and I can officially say - mission accomplished!
This past month, there has been all sorts of build up to this moment. As wonderful as it feels to have finished my 52-ish weeks today, the build up has had little to do with my hiking. For the first time in a few years, my entire family will be all in one place at the same time! One sister and her brood live in Vietnam, another sister lives in San Francisco, and my two parents live in San Diego. You could say we're just a little spread out. Its rare that we all convene in one place, however this year, I begged and pleaded for our clan to reunite in Vermont for the holidays. I promised snow and charm. I promised family adventures and cozy catch-up time by the fire. I promised a true Vermont experience if only we could all get gather in my little corner of the world. I've been shopping for nieces/aunties/uncles/grandparents, cleaning nooks and crannies of the house, pulling out the extra bedding, and biting my fingernails while wondering if the winter weather fairies will perform some their magic just when I need it.
And this year, Mommy got her Christmas wish! The whole crew said yes! Schedules were arranged and rearranged, flights and cars were scheduled, meals were planned, the house was decorated. Even though we haven't had any major snowy dumps in Bristol, the winter fairies have not disappointed me. The entire of month of December has been dusted with sparkly white snow, consistently creating that back drop we all desire to enjoy a dreamy holiday time during which family and friends gather. We're still waiting for Lulu, the youngest, to arrive in a few days, but we're pretty darn close to a full-on reunion, and so far its been a joy.
I know I'm painting this Norman Rockwell Christmas in your mind... Hahaha! Let's be clear, no family is perfect, except for mine. Snicker snicker snort! Far from it... but we do love each other, pretty fiercely, and gathering as a whole is rare these days for us. I think I've longed to have them all see me settled in to this Vermont life that I love so dearly. Its taken me a while to find a spot I can call home, a place I can work out my dreams and kinks and feel like myself. Now that I've found it, I want to share it with them, and I'm so grateful for that opportunity. I had this vision of us all taking the 52nd hike together... kids tromping through the snow, creaky grandparents being led up the hill by bouncy grandkids, my sisters and I, arm in arm, giggling at the scene while our significant others rolled their eyes at our silliness. Instead the kids whined at the idea, my sis slept off jet lag, mom cleaned the house (finally able to do it her way while we were all out, and hey, any cleaning not done by me is superior!), the sigs took the kids to the watershed for a non-steep stroll through the woods, and my not too creaky dad and I partnered for the mellow but jubilant finale hike of 2017.
It all really did work out just right. It wasn't really a bells and whistles Hallmark kinda year anyway. And besides, that's boring and predictable and who wants that? This year my heart cracked open enough to find solid ground. This year I got a dog! This year my kid started preschool, and my husband started a new job. This year politics and news nearly blew my head off, but miraculously it somehow stayed on. This year my whole fam-dam-ly came to visit me in Vermont and holy shit that feels good. I know how blessed I am. Not only do I know it, but I feel it. And I tell ya, that's the frickin' point. Feeling good and grateful for what you've got. I could be telling you all the ways 2016 sucked, believe me I could because it wouldn't be hard to do, but tonight I'm going to seeing the light in the dark, make my own damn fireworks and start hike 53 next week. See ya on the hill!
Hi, my name is Ali Dawson Gibson. I'm a healer, a singer and a teacher. This Blog, 52 Weeks of the Ledges, is from 2016 when I hiked this awesome Bristol Ledges trail once and week and shared my experiences. Enjoy!