Shadow clouds and shadow human on Mount Garfield.

Early this week, my husband Nat, daughters Elizabeth and Annie, and Elizabeth’s boyfriend, Greg, hiked up to Mount Garfield in the White Mountains and stayed at Garfield Ridge Campsite. Sixteen mountains in the United States are named after the president who was assassinated one year into his presidency in 1881. This one, although smaller than many of them, is one of the more impressive peaks in the Whites. The lichen and moss seem to pop off the rocks, and the view extends fully around when one is lucky enough to get a clear one.

I’m busy with work this summer and so this was my major White Mountains trip for a while. I was going to complain. But I realize that yearning for the mountains comprises more than half the experience of loving and fighting with them. The mountains sit like fixed God, and they do not care that I have a book deadline this year. The length of time between now and after I meet the book deadline means nothing to a mountain.

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?” —Kahil Gibran.

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