Warmth of the sun

lawn in the sun

Sitting in the sun in the back yard, a cool breeze blowing across my face, hearing the rustle of the leaves overhead.

It’s not often that we allow ourselves a few minutes pause to absorb the warmth of the sun and hear the rhythm of the neighborhood: a few birds, cars braking at the stop sign down the hill, a distant lawn mower.

Mostly, we’re consumed by the need to be doing something — or feel like we’re doing something productive. It’s good to make a positive difference. Yet it’s nourishing to pause occasionally, allowing ourselves to feel the warmth from our nearest star, the coolness of a dry breeze, to hear the bird songs.

We need that perspective to give us meaning.

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Welcoming summer

On this second day of summer, the family is scattered: Andrea back at Wheelock, Grant at work, Lori engaged in a project at El Colima this morning and then off to an afternoon wine tasting with her POT group (it’s not what you think).

Left alone, I decided to enjoy this gorgeous summer Saturday by hiking up Pitcher Mountain, a part of New Hampshire that I’ve not seen before. Once out of Nashua and Milford, the scenery was bucolic and the drive meditative. High clouds diffused the sun’s heat, the open sunroof circulated the still-cool air. I turned north out of Peterborough and, with hardly any traffic, made my way through Hancock, a quintessential New England town, and Stoddard, charming in its own way, to the parking area adjacent to the trailhead.

Had I known that the ninety minute drive would far exceed the 10 minute walk from trailhead to peak, I probably would have chosen another location. I’m glad I didn’t know. Despite the haze in the air, the views are amazing, and the setting provides perspective.

Sitting on a large granite rock at the peak, below the man made fire tower, I pulled out a little-used journal and put my thoughts to paper:

The view is expansive, yet hazy, as though pieces of the high clouds extend all the way to the ground. The undulating mountains extend all around, fully wooded except for one farm south and a lake to the east. A nice breeze keeps the sun’s warmth from being overbearing.

Why am I here? Why do I like to climb to the top?

Not really for the exercise, certainly not today given the surprisingly short walk.

Rather, it’s the view: the grandeur of the earth with an expansive 360° perspective. These granite rocks are timeless. The mountains underneath tell part of the story of the earth’s creation. Over millions of years, compared with under a hundred for me. This contrast provides a good dose of humility. And calm.

Life is all about perspective. And mountain peaks are a good source of that.

The undulating mountains

More photos from the hike here.

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