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[at-l] I'm off to the mountains...

In a message dated 4/14/2005 7:17:08 AM Eastern Daylight Time,  
janl2@mindspring.com writes:

Hammer  had a heart attack last year on his way to The Gathering, and I 
suddenly  realized... there may be no next year. So I'm hauling my butt 
up  there.

This is a good thing that you are doing Jan.  Whenever a group forms  there 
will be a time when the membership of that group will change.  New  members 
will join and some in the group will take the Big Hike to "who knows  where."  
None of us have been to "who knows where" but one day we all will  go.  The Big 
Hike is in our future.  Before we go ourselves, and  before the others go 
(whom we know) it is good to take time to be with  them.  Each of us enrich one 
another by our actions, our words, and even  our silent sitting.  Our presence 
can also come through conveying our  thoughts via e-mail or on paper.  Little 
notes can be very  meaningful.  
When I hike with friends (and most of my friends are over 65 yoa) I look up  
the trail and see them ahead of me and it is a comfortable feeling to know 
that  they are there.  At rest stops as we share a snack or talk about the trail  
(or even about topics considered verboten by some) there is an exchange that  
takes place.  We take something from the experience and we give something  of 
ourselves.  As we hike on we carry something (information, knowledge,  
awareness) that we did not have before the exchange took place.  
If we look around us and see the many who are a part of our lives we cannot  
help but be blessed, feel pride, approach greatness, or feel "strangely 
warmed"  (Wesley's words) because of those we have met along the way.  If friends  
can help each other along the path of life then those enriched by that  
presence will grow into significant others who become true friends.  One  will have a 
difficult time being lonely when friends are along on the  journey.  
Separated by miles or just ahead on the trail -- the other is  there and we are 
conscious of their presence.  Something within stirs us  into action -- telephone, 
e-mail, a shared trip, a visit, or a hike in the woods  -- and out thoughts 
turn to them rather than on our own predicaments of  life.  
Enjoy the mountains!