Janelle tosses a handful of trailmix to the wind. She’s barefoot and looks small at the summit, nearly the same size as the cairn marking the top. She pauses for a moment, head down, then scampers back to her lunch.
Catching my eye, she shrugs.
“It’s for grandpa.”
I shake my head, not understanding.
“When I make an offering to the mountain Gods, I ask them to keep grandpa safe.”
I open my mouth, but nothing comes out.
“What?” she asks. “I do that on every mountain. I think he’d be proud of me for doing this.”
There’s no piety or religious fervor in her voice or in this action. It’s just a thing she does, a way of keeping her grandfather alive in her memory, of taking him with her to these places.
I squeeze her shoulder. “He would be,” is all manage to say.
Mt. Israel (7/22/12)
Height: 2,630 feet
Location: Near Center Sandwich, 1-93 exit 24, Rts 3 and 25 to Rte 113 to Grove Street North to Diamond Ledge Road
Our trailhead: Wentworth Trail, up and back
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip