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Right before Billy’s fifteenth birthday our family took a trip to the Pacific coast. Dad was traveling there on a business trip and the rest of the family tagged along to celebrate Billy’s birthday together. It was a good trip and we made a load of great memories, but one quiet, sunny afternoon in particular has stayed with my soul and grown in my heart.

To get out of the city for awhile, Mom, Billy and I took the state ferry to one of the many islands nearby. As the ferry left the docks and we ventured out over the blue, without any notice, she appeared around the bend. As I caught sight of her in the corner of my eye, time began to slow down and nearly stopped altogether, or so it seemed.

I had seen plenty of mountains growing up in the Rockies, but never had I seen a sight so majestic. As the clouds gathered around her crown, almost halo-like, she towered over the city, the forest and the dark ocean, watching over her kin.

Slowly, I breathed in the crisp sea air. So deeply, I was sure I had never taken so much air into my lungs before. I kept both my eyes on the horizon, perhaps nervous that she may disappear into the ocean or into the sky, if I broke my gaze.

I tapped Billy on the shoulder, he was watching the seagulls battle over bits of grub. Pointing south, I eagerly shared my view. Billy immediately smiled at me, but kept his eyes on that mountain. Together, we raised our hands to the sky, grasping at the wind and opening up our lungs to the salty sea air. It is true what they say about the air in Washington, it is clean and clear and feels so good. I needed that air and that day. We both did.

My dearest Mt. Rainier, thank you for your might and grace. I don’t know when we will meet again, but I know we will, indeed, meet again.

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