4 May 2003
Mourning the Old Man
The great stone face of the Old Man on the Mountain has always been the defining symbol of New Hampshire; his not-quite-smile, not-quite-scowl has always seemed to be the ultimate expression of "Been there, seen that."
And yes, the experts say that the collapse of the Old Man was inevitable, that wind and weather and time and trouble would bring down that great stone face any time you've got this much rock exposed, you've massively increased the risk factors but still it seems impossible; you no more expect this than you expect Lady Liberty to shorten her skirts and do the Hokey Pokey.
This has not been a great year for New Hampshire, with the fire on Mount Washington back in February and now the Old Man crumbled into dust, but you don't spend four hundred years in New England without acquiring some sort of resilience. And I hope they don't decide to redesign the state highway signs, small reminders of the Old Man at his finest and craggiest.