The climb is on! The day grows clear
    And clearer with each height;
    The peaks, once distant, seem so near,
    Washed in the Autumn light.

    The tallest white-capped silhouette
    Rears high to prompt your pace;
    To reach it, skills not dreamed of yet
    Await you on its face.

    The snow-line drops far down, and soon
    The Aspens' gold is passed;
    Brisk breezes kick the drifts of noon;
    The sun runs warm and fast.

    You are the climber, still unspent
    And armed with every tool
    To map each leg of your ascent
    With faith as chart and rule.

    When finally you reach the top
    And think the journey done,
    Our Father will not let you stop
    Until you reach His Throne.

      For Kenny from Joan Geiger
      with love and prayers

Kenny, I remember climbing above the snowline in Denver and playing in the snow in short sleeves on a warm Autumn day. The Aspens were shimmering gold below, and the white caps off at a distance seemed close enough to touch. One peak was very high--the highest of them all - and it was a climbers' favorite. We heard old climbers say, "You learn to climb by climbing." I have in my memory a quatrain from a George Mac Donald (Scotland, 19th Century) poem with which each of his books begins:

"For I am always climbing hills
From the known to the unknown,
Surely at last on some high peak
To find my Father's throne."

I could say both the experience in the Rockies and Mac Donald's poem were resources for this poem, but the inspiration is you. With some alteration I gave a copy to a very dear young friend of mine when he became eighteen and, in the same week, a National Merit semifinalist. He knows the original was for you, and he said he hopes he climbs as well as you did (and do). So we are "always climbing hills . . ."

    Climb on! Joan