“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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