Mount Isolation Trail, September 13, 2010

I am back from a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I climbed Owl’s Head, the subject of a previous “Get This,” and five other mountains. I climbed to the ridge where Mount Monroe waited behind freezing rain, a few snowflakes, high winds, and fog. My friends tell me I already summitted Monroe. I like the uncertainty. Most of all, as Thoreau said, “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”

Which thoughts? First just realizations. By day four or so I realized that back home I wasn’t getting enough sleep, was spending wrong time on right things and right time on wrong things, and was whining about it all.

Then, once all that’s out, I am capable of knowing how many streams I have crossed since the last trail junction. I notice the way the birch bark peels itself off in curly sheets and remember that an early native in the Lyme, Connecticut, area, negotiated with settlers for perpetual rights to peel birch bark. I notice the difference in rock in the northern White Mountains and the Franconia Ridge. I don’t bend my head in the rain but just go through it. It’s beautiful and yet hateful out there in the woods. It’s not comfortable but it is where I’m most at home. It’s not where I meet God, but it enables me to see God clearly when I come back.

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