Holiday Hill  by Edith M. Patch

The Signs on the Hill

D ID you ever see a signpost with a mark pointing to a place called "Holiday Hill"? Perhaps not. Yet a holiday hill is not very hard to find. It has certain signs of its own and so it does not need guideboards.

There may be a stream of water running down its steep side. A very little brook will do, if it makes a jolly sound when it splashes against the mossy rocks.

For, of course, there must be rocks on a really satisfying hill. The rocks will have rounded ends and sides, looking as if their corners had been rubbed off. And many of them will have cracks through which bushes are pushing their stems.


Holiday Hill

If it is really the right sort of hill on which to spend a holiday, it should have berries, don't you think? Of all the berries in the world, those that grow on plants belonging to the Heath Family seem best for a hill.

The stems and leaves of mountain cranberries will lie like a flat mat on the very top of the hill. Their berries will be crimson and as sour as those other cranberries that grow on taller plants in bogs.

Blueberry bushes will cover part of the slope. Their blossoms will hang like tiny pink and cream-colored bells. Little bees will be going here and there on humming wings, carrying pollen from flower to flower. Because of the visits of these insects during blossom time, there will be berries on the bushes later—beautiful blue berries powdered with wax, sweet in the summer sunshine.


Blueberry bells waiting for bees

For the third kind of heath plant we might choose to find the checkerberry with leaves that stay green all winter and with red spicy berries that cling to the stems all winter, too, unless they happen to be picked and eaten by some hillside wanderer.

As you climb the slope of Holiday Hill, you may meet Chickaree among a clump of arbor vitae trees. If you do, he will probably scold you, and his voice will sound like his name. But Chickaree will not frighten you for he is only a little red squirrel trying to tell you that he wishes to have all the cones that grow on the evergreen branches for his own.

Sir Talis will not frighten you, either, if you are a sensible person. For Sir Talis is a harmless creature, gliding out of sight among the rocks in a quiet well-mannered way.

The small being in a strange cloak, who sits on a sweet fern bush and munches its fragrant leaves, will fill you with curiosity, I think. He did me, the first time I met him.

If you hear a springtime song like a soft tinkling of gentle bells, you may suspect that Junco is near. When he flies, he will show you the white outer feathers of his spread tail.

During the fall of the year, you may take the colors of Holiday Hill for a sign that you have reached the right place. For then there will be gay leaves of crimson shades and some of gleaming gold.

But if you wait until winter, what will the hillside be, then, except a pleasant slope for coasting? Well, if you are lucky enough, you may chance to see the tracks that Little Snowshoes made when he passed that way. And, if you are much more fortunate still, you may even have a glimpse of the little fellow himself—all snug in his white winter furs.

So, springtime or summer or autumn or winter, you may know "Holiday Hill" when you climb it, even though there is no guidepost to tell you its name.