Yesterday, in central California, I felt a flash of déjà vu. It had rained in the early hours of the morning and the coming dawn showed that a dreary overcast had given way to blue sky filled with intermittent puffy white clouds that stretched from horizon to horizon. A breeze blew out of the northwest and the air was sweet and clean. Off to the east, the Sierra Nevada stood in sharp profile with snow-covered mountains rising above the darker jumble of foothills below. The temperature in Modesto rose above 70 degrees and the day was nothing short of spectacular. As if in a dream, I felt transported back in time and place to those late spring or early summer days camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Occasionally, the rain would give way to a day so perfect and fine that the senses stood in awe before the beauty of the mountains. The wind brought fresh clean air and even peaks far removed towered in sharp detail on the distant skyline. On such a day, the spirit rose with each step on the trail as I made my way up towards the treeline in search of the wonder and magic that awaited me on unseen summits.
Oh, it was such a joy to be alive, and I cherish that time of discovery and adventure in the days of my youth back in the East. Yesterday, on a sunlit winter’s day in late March, an old man in Modesto remembered the greatness and grandeur of all those perfect days in New Hampshire so many years ago.