Mt. Carrigain is a 4,683-foot peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which I climbed in September 2014. It was my 43rd of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks over 4,000 feet, the last before my worsening health made this kind of hiking no longer possible. This piece will be included in Ill on a Journey, a multilingual opera/oratorio about navigating life with chronic illness.
Hear soprano Abigail Chapman and SORA string quartet performing September: Mt. Carrigain:
I began climbing these mountains as a child back then I set a goal to one day know them all when I got sick so many goals had to be abandoned and yet I held onto this Signal Ridge Trail is a rocky spine ascending through evergreens soaked in mist, clothed in moss and mushrooms although I’ve never been here, somehow I feel at home today it’s not too difficult to hold my head up straight today my vision is clear today the grip of pain is loose enough to move this is as good as I can feel as good as I’ll ever feel Signal Ridge Trail is laced with slippery tree roots sending me stumbling— ankles twisting— my body knows I want to leave it and bites the rock in despair taking a break, out of breath, we tell each other “The view will be sublime, when the clouds lift!” but the clouds never lift they swirl around the firetower in wind threatening to tear us away refusing to allow even a glimpse of the green beyond heading down knees also refuse to obey blood turned spiky as the trail paper birch, I am a foreigner in your home now will you kindly steady me?