The sunset glow has long faded in the west, the elfin spires are but black shadows on purple depth, the Peabodies and thrushes have ceased their song, and only an owl or a night-hawk sneaks on silent wing from the woods behind—yet still we remain amid the warm fragrance of the balsams, loath to leave, or perhaps wrapped in our blankets not intending to leave till we have boiled our morning coffee against a boulder, while the sun flatters "the mountain tops with sovereign eye." No valley lamps are visible from this high, sheltered chamber. But a planet hangs like a beacon in a fir-tree top, and all the zenith blazes. How patient they are, the stars! How slow-moving, how unalterable! You are very small, beneath this coverlet of the Milky Way, and to your mind come back the words from Tuckerman's sonnet—he whose son built the path to the peak beyond:
And what canst thou, to whom no hands belong,
To hasten by one hour the morning's birth?
Or stay one planet at his circle hung,
In the great flight of stars across the earth?
It is good to feel such humbleness amid the solemnity of the heights. But it is good, as well, to feel still the fragrant warmth of the balsams keeping off the wind, to listen quietly while a little bird close by wakes with a sweet cheep and rustles to another perch, and to hear, for good-night lullaby, the distant, drowsy tinkle of a cow-bell, as the herd, turned loose again after milking, make their way slowly back to their upland pasture.
Green Trails and Upland Pastures
By Walter Prichard Eaton

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