Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Perspective: Lost & Found

We’re back in Newburyport today—catching our breath. We’ve had a busy few days and are waiting to see what the weather is going to do up in the White Mountains over these last six days of winter. A storm is brewing and as of yet there’s no way of knowing if it will be snow, rain, a combination, a lot, a little, or nothing at all.

Winter ends on Tuesday night at 6:05 pm. If we hike that day we’ll have to be off the trail by that time. We have the following left: Isolation; Moriah; the three Carters and two Wildcats; and the eight Presidentials.

While trying to juggle life back home in Newburyport, our hiking life, finances, my business, weather forecasts and a myriad of other things, I have my hands full lately. When life comes at you like this it's easy to lose focus on what matters most to us. And while I contemplate my own little concerns and what lays ahead for us over these last days of this winter season I have on occasion lost track of what we have been trying to do over these three months. And yet time and again it is brought back to me, even in the shadow of a daunting peak, a steep downhill, the sometimes surprisingly personal politics of the hiking community (hard to believe, I know) or the miles ahead on a long day. (On the subject of politics in the hiking community: It’s often much easier to hike when it’s just myself and Atticus. Lots more of this down the road, perhaps in the book.)

Today’s reviving message came from a Newburyport woman whose husband is fighting life-threatening cancer. Her words were exactly what I needed on this starless night.
"You are doing great. I love reading of your daily adventures. The pictures at the top of Mount Washington are awesome! You and Atticus have much to be proud of. I hope you are getting many donations for your cause. Every time we go to Dana-Farber and I look around at all of the people who are depending on these medicines to live it is gut-wrenching. They all want the same thing as us—a cure. We need to find the answers to this epidemic disease."
Talk of perspective.
While on the matter of raising funds for the fight against cancer, $850 came in today. Very nice. One check from a member of the hiking community; a corporate sponsoer; a couple of dedications, and one from a couple who read Steve Smith's article in The Mountain Ear.
If you haven't donated yet, there's still time. Just click on our donation page and you will see what to do. But remember, make the checks out to The Jimmy Fund and not Tom & Atticus: Winter Quest for a Cure. If you've already contributed...thank you.

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