In memory of a dearly departed stranger

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“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Henry David Thoreau ~ transcendentalist American author, poet, naturalist, and philosopher (1817 – 1862)

Photos by James Edward Mills

I celebrate the memory of a dearly departed stranger, a precious child of nature I never met. But in knowing those who loved her and sharing their most precious thoughts I have come to count her now as a friend of my own.

Ascending from Yosemite Valley I climbed to the summit of Half Dome. Along the way I became acquainted with a charming group of athletic types who live their lives balancing passions for work and play. Chief among them was Janine Jacinto, a woman of exuberant personality and dynamic spirit. Of course she runs marathons and 50Ks.  At the school where she teaches Janine raises money for children  to buy running shoes and she coaches them to chase dreams of their own.

As we walked the 8.2 miles up steep trails to the top of Half Dome Janine shared with me the reason she and her friends were making the trek. On the summit I was privileged to take photographs and share in the ceremony that marked the passing of their friend Chris Brock.

Chris was a teacher in the town of Lodi, California. An avid outdoorswoman she loved the Sierra mountain range and Yosemite was one of her favorite places. One year ago she succumbed to a long and painful battle against colon cancer.  Her friends who are now mine gathered and climbed this high mountain peak to arranged freeze-dried red roses on this stunted pine tree. There they shared memories of a much beloved friend who truly lived. -JEM

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Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

8 Responses to “In memory of a dearly departed stranger”

  1. August 31, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    I read the first 10 words and knew immediately it was Thoreau. Thank you Mr. August, junior english teacher who had us study Thoreau intensely!

  2. August 31, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    I read the first 10 words and knew immediately it was Thoreau. Thank you Mr. August, junior english teacher who had us study Thoreau intensely!

  3. September 1, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    What a great tribute to Chris! Beautiful.

  4. September 1, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    What a great tribute to Chris! Beautiful.

  5. Liz Tobeck
    September 2, 2009 at 3:06 am #

    Chris was a dear friend to so many of us. Thank you for posting such a beautifully written message and such wonderful pictures. You were there for a reason! God bless you.

  6. Liz Tobeck
    September 2, 2009 at 3:06 am #

    Chris was a dear friend to so many of us. Thank you for posting such a beautifully written message and such wonderful pictures. You were there for a reason! God bless you.

  7. Debbie
    September 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    James, what a blessing you are!

  8. Debbie
    September 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    James, what a blessing you are!

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