When I was about 6, my parents took us on our first big summer car trip. We went from Chicago to Maine in a big old Dodge van my sister and I named Ralph. The trip was two weeks long, but the memory that sticks out strongest for me was a train ride up Mount Washington. I sat near the window, and the windows all rattled in their frames. Outside the train, the wind howled, and the trees diminished until all we saw was rocks and sky. I remember the stone cairns along the way — they were probably just trail markers, but I was sure they marked the graves of lost hikers. This sounds like a rather depressing episode, but I remember feeling an awe and wonder that went beyond fear. I was probably scared too, but that’s not the feeling that has remained 30+ years later. I think this is the earliest nature memory I can date with any confidence.
Posted: Sunday, October 31st, 2010