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The Woman on the Mountain Top

Updated on October 31, 2014

This story is in reply to a challenge by billybuc to write about the picture he took (the last picture in this story). Bill has been my sensei and the inspiration of many. Answering his challenge is a privilege and I know this story is only one of many.

Mt. McKinley

He loved the mountains. From the time he was a little boy he loved looking at the majesty of the mountains rising out of a flat earth. He loved the way the sun would shine on a mountain and make it look different every day. When he was a child he would climb the mountains, using the paths of course, with his brothers and his parents. What fun they had trying to out race each other. Hours of being outdoors and seeing the beauty of nature around them. Once they saw a rabbit running past, another time they spotted a deer off in the distance.

His dream was to see the highest mountain peak in North America. He wanted to go to Mt. McKinley so badly to see "the Great One". A marvel always covered in snow. A mountain beyond what he'd seen so far. He'd seen its beauty on television and in magazines. He longed to see it just once in person.

The view from the plane

He and his wife finally did make a trip to Alaska. He loved sitting by the window on the plane ride and seeing the granduer they were there to see before they landed.

He basked in the glory of all the mountains. Mt. McKinley took his breath away. A sight he would never forget. The sun made the snow shine so that the mountain looked like a gift from God. The only word he could think of was magnificent. The pictures he'd seen didn't do it justice. Everywhere they went there was beauty. Animals frolicking in the snow, otters swimming in the water. What a grand time they had. They hiked on glaciers and met native Alaskans. This was a dream come true.

Once the trip was over and they returned home, he was not disappointed, he still loved the Catskills and the ability to walk in their beauty. He would still hike in the Catskills and look at the land below. Mountains never ceased to amaze him and he had precious memories of his Alaskan trip to keep with him always.

Otters swimming in the water

Fire Tower


She wasn't overly fond of mountains. She loved the ocean and its warm, salty breezes, not to mention the warmth of the sun on your skin. Oh, she thought mountains were beautiful but cold and better viewed from afar. Her love for him was deep and never ending and she would do anything to please him. After years of hearing about Alaska, she finally gave in and they headed north. The trip scared her and she thought for sure she'd be miserable but she was pleasantly surprised when she loved it almost as much as he did. The mountains were always tipped in snow and the sights were truly breathtaking. They took the bus ride into Denali and when they saw Mt. McKinley the driver told them few people get to see the peak because it is usually shrouded in fog. It must've been an omen, she did the right thing because they got to see the top of Mt. McKinley, but only for a few minutes. After taking their pictures they turned around and the mountain was gone. Fog had covered it! The glory of Mt. McKinley would take anyone's breath away, she was glad she had seen it but she was happy to return to the Catskills.

She remembered their hikes in the Catskills. She remembered their hike to the Hunter Fire Tower. A day all the children enjoyed. He beamed as he led them to the 4,042 foot elevation and watched as they climbed the steps in the fire tower. They ran up and down those steps making her tired just watching them! It was a fun day for all of them. Sharing the hike and laughing at each other as they raced up the tower and down again. Watching their youngest son race down the mountain ahead of the rest of the family. She was happy to get back to the car and sit. They had worn her out but she was happily exhausted.

Life is often cruel and the heart attack that took her husband was certainly unexpected. How could she go on without the love of her life? How could she ever look at a mountain again? There were dark days ahead. Days she didn't want to get out of bed much less function. The light had gone out in her life.

Her children came daily trying to coax her back to life. Finally her oldest son said, "We're going hiking in the Catskills Mom. Won't you come with us please?" A tiny light poked into the darkness of her soul. His place, the Catskills. Could she find him there? Would she find him there?

Finally she agreed to the visit to the mountains. Her heart seemed to be beating stronger as she got dressed. It was almost like she was going to see him there.

Photos property of Tillsontitan unless otherwise noted.


It was a beautiful day filled with sunshine. The sunshine he loved to watch on the mountains, lighting part of it and leaving part in darkness. She thought, this is my life, there is still light even beside the darkness.

She laughed for the first time that day as her grandchildren ran up the mountain paths and sometimes fell down, just as her children had done. She watched her son lead the way just as his father had done, and watched the beauty around her. She started to come out of the darkness.

They climbed as high as they could go. She stood and looked at the land below and remembered his love of the mountains. She could feel his presence here above the world. She never imagined she would be the woman on the mountain top but she knew this was where she could find peace and be with him again. She could feel him here and knew she would be back.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Shamarie. Everyone should know great love.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Touching is about the only word I can think of. A very sweet story of love and loss and even more love.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Audrey. You brought tears to my eyes thinking that you remember your son Todd in the mountains too. There is a spirituality in the mountains that is hard to find anywhere else. God bless dear friend. Hope you have a great day.

      Audrey H. You have truly made my day! What higher praise than to have a great writer so flatter my humble work. Thank you and God bless.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      I cam back for another read of this stunningly poignant work!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Breath-taking response to Bill's challenge! In fact, I read this twice. Emotion runs deep within my heart and you certainly provided a lovely range of it here.

      Thank you Mary for this story. I, too find a spiritual connection to my son, Todd in the mountains. This is one reason I live in these beautiful, peaceful mountains.

      Happy New Year my precious friend. Hugs, Audrey

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I so wish everyone happy ending Deb. Our past is often our worst enemy.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very nice story, with a wonderful ending. Sometimes, we must face our fears in order to understand other things and relive happiness once again.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you so much Kevin. I appreciate your comment and votes and shares.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Your story was wonderful Mary. It had grace and beauty in it. I voted it up, shared and pinned it.


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Mckbirdbks...happy to please and glad you found this a good read.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello, I see from the comment stream that you have received the high praise this story deserves. You portray a wide range of emotion in this short piece of writing. It was a pleasure to read.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Actually we went to the Adirondacks several years ago. Absolutely beautiful! Take care good friend.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      4 years ago from Mississauga, ON


      When I was living in NYC eons ago, Poconos and Catskills were my favorite weekend destinations for hiking, but I longed for doing some serious hiking in Adirondacks. When that materialized, that was a dream come true. I just couldn't imagine a bold girl like you not getting out of Catskills and conquering Adirondacks.


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Suzette, I haven't written a lot of happy endings lately so I'm glad this one was enjoyable.

      Yes Suhail, I do live in the Catskills and not overly far from the Adirondacks. So glad you enjoyed my story.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Great response hub to Bill's challenge from the lady of the Catskills and the Adirondacks!

      As a person of smaller mountains, I was able to relate to the woman in the story haha.

      I liked the story immensely.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Beautiful story, Mary. Quite heartwarming. So sad the husband had to die, but the Mrs. finally came back to life and realized she would find his spirit in the mountains. What a wonderful ending to your story. I so enjoyed reading this!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks for stopping by Eddy! Have a good one.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      4 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant Mary another great read which I vote up and share.


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Jamie for reading it!

      Thank you for the compliments about my piece Manatita. I loved your drift, especially since it had a happy ending. I cannot imagine being lost on Mr. Mt. MKinley, not only the magnificent size and snow but the ungodly gold! In honesty, I can't imagine skiing there in the first place...Om Shanti to you my friend.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Fine writing, Mary, as I know you can. Great story and yes, a real joy on the mountaintop. Some sweet singing, too.

      You show the love for the mountains well. One of my friends climbed Mc Kinley. You might say he pushed his luck a bit while skiing and fell off.

      After much praying to our Guru by family and fellow disciples, they found him in the freezing cold. Three days later and still alive! A true miracle!

      Sorry for the drift. A noble and most worthy contribution to Bill's classic Challenge. Om Shanti!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you for this wonderful story to read. Jamie

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      My husband is a big fan of Doo Wap so the song is one I'm very familiar with. Glad I could introduce you to it. You are most welcome. Your appreciation of my story means a lot.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      You did a fabulous job on this challenge. I enjoyed every word. What a beautiful way to find peace, at the mountain top. I also enjoyed the music video, I'd never heard of it. Thank you.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      And such a nice comment from you Audrey.

      I never realized where you were born Mary. Glad you enjoyed my story.

      Just like I can feel your love Linda.

      I really appreciate your flattering comment Rebecca. You know how good it feels when your fellow writers like your efforts.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This piece has allowed me to see what a great writer you are, tillsontitan! Really, really terrific little story. One that could certainly grow, too!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Awwww what a beautiful story...I could feel the love! :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      You wrote a beautiful story for Bill's challenge! I was born in the mountains of North Carolina, so I relate to the mountains and their beauty.

      It was a pleasure to read this Hub.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      Just a beautiful response to the challenge Mary!!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      So happy you found this nicely written Brett. Thanks for the shares and votes.

      Fiddleman, thank you for the excellent comment.

      Maria your words are beautiful and keep the writer's light glowing. Thank you GF. I'm sending hugs right back to you.

      Harishprasad it was certainly my pleasure to share with you and I am grateful for the gem of a comment you left.

      Dear Paula you are like my fan club. You always get me and what I write. I'm glad I could take you to heights you don't normally go but hey, what are friends for ;)

      MizBejabbers, how nice to see you here. So happy you enjoyed.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      A beautiful story of healing, and I think you captured the essence of this photo very well. Your writing is lovely and descriptive.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      You hit this one right out of the park, GF! What a lovely and touching tale. You managed to have me walking the trails to the mountain top....and I'm deathly afraid of heights! That's what great writers do!

      They take us places we never believed we could go. Please, take a bow, Tille. I'm applauding you. Peace, Paula UP++pinned tweeted & googled

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      4 years ago from New Delhi , India

      I loved reading this tale- pleasure, sadness and strength all woven so beautifully. Mary, your writing is fascinating. The woman on the mountaintop created by you is a strong and affectionate lady. Thanks for sharing such a gem with us. Great response to Bill's challenge. Voted up and shared.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      What a solid blend of creativity, inspiration and healing you have woven into this love story...the tears quietly flowed as I read this.

      Absolutely beautiful work, dear friend...Voted UP and AB. Love, Maria

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Excellent write!!! Vote up! You have a wonderful way and a gift!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      4 years ago from Asia

      A good story idea. Bittersweet; a sad and yet positive ending. Nicely written.

      Sharing and voting ;-)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Sheila, I kept thinking about all the mountains around us and their beauty.

      Kim, I believe our memories are where our loved ones live.

      Glad you enjoyed my reply to the challenge Nell. I'm really loving these challenges as they stretch my imagination.

      Thank you so much Word55 your comment meant so much to me.

      Martie your comment brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my own parents love story.

      L.M. so glad you enjoyed reading my story.

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 

      4 years ago

      Awesome story that I enjoyed reading very much.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Mary, this story reflects painful sadness caused by the death of one's partner, and then holding onto a beautiful memory even while it was in reality but only one shared experience by two unique personalities. I could see my parents so clearly in this story :)

      Voted up and beautiful :)

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      This is a beautiful piece of artistic elegance. You added great taste to billybuc's challenge, illsontitan.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      That was lovely mary, and such a poignant ending. The mountain calmed her heart and made her feel closer to him, wonderful! this is the second one I have read in the challenge, and they are so different and yet both, so far, wonderful!

    • ocfireflies profile image


      4 years ago from North Carolina

      What a beautifully crafted story that brings the reader in and carries her through life's sorrows and tears while reminding her in the end, there is always a special place we can share with the ones we love. V+/H+



    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Wonderful! I really liked the way you told the story involving the two mountains and what they meant to the characters, then ended by the woman coming out of her depression by once again hiking up and standing on the mountain.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I felt she had it in her to go on and there was that mountain top! I am so honored by your comment Frank. Thank you.

      Thank you Sha the mountain top seemed to be the place for peace.

      Faith I loved your comment. You hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the votes and shares!

      Graham, how nice to see you. I hope you are well and your memories bring you comfort in the end.

      Tobusiness, so nice to see you here. Thank you for the kind words.

      DD so glad you enjoyed my words.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An incredible hub! You too have laid all out so beautifully.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Beautiful and very moving. A wonderful response to Bill's challenge. I'm amazed at the marvellous response to these challenges, all exceptional.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Well done Mary. It brought back bittersweet memories for me. Life is a passage, at the end love is all.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, me, Mary, this is one heartrending story you have written. Beautifully written and I just love a great ending. It takes a lot of struggles to overcome to finally get to that mountaintop no doubt!

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning and sharing


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Beautiful answer to Bill's challenge, Mary. There's a lot of emotion and discovery in this story. Peace was finally found to overcome sadness at the mountaintop. Beautiful ending.

    • profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago

      im so glad she started to come out of the darkness.. losing her husband was probably too tragic for her to take what a wonderful.. beautifully written challenge..Till.. you are becoming my favorite.. bless you Frank

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you Ms Dora. Sometimes we create our own power.

      Ann, I'm glad you stopped by and now know about the challenge. I will be looking for your response. Nature is all around us and we only need to take advantage of what it has to offer.

      DreamingBoomer, I am glad I could bring back fond memories for you.

      Always, I am moved that you felt this in your heart. We all have our ways to remember. Hugs back to you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a wonderful story! It was sad, his passing, but you gave the story meaning with her return to the mountain. I felt your words in my heart, Thank you so much for sharing..Smiles

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 

      4 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Lovely story, Mary. It makes me think of my father, who loved the mountains and who left us way to soon. Thanks for bringing back his fond memory.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      This is great, Mary! A beautiful, well told. I was there with them and then shared her grief. How wonderful nature is to be able to bring us back to reality and lift our souls. I know it affects me like that and its beauty never ceases to amaze me.

      This is the first I've read of the stories for the challenge. It will take a lot for anyone to do as well. I'm working on my draft and will try to publish tomorrow.

      Well done!


    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great story--a tribute to the power of the hills as well as to the relationship. Beautiful!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Well thank you very much Don, I appreciate your comment.

      Cam I'm hoping your "returning" turned out well. We go through life with so many challenges the best we can do is keep that hope alive.

      Jodah, always good to see you here. I thought it was time for a semi-happy ending ;)

      Linda you are so right about nature and its power in our lives. God gives us so much if we will only see. Thanks for the votes and adding to your hub.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Mary, boy did you touch my heart with this one. You took Bill's challenge to a whole new level. What I found most interesting is that your story also had an underlying theme of healing that was triggered by a return to the mountains. Nature is so wonderful and the power of God in nature cannot be denied. This was just beautiful with equal amounts of sadness and joy. Voted up, awesome, beautiful and...added to my hub too.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What a beautiful story Mary. I am so glad she went back up into the mountains so that she could be with her beloved again in the place he loved. Well done as always.

      . Voted up.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Mary, such an emotion filled story. But you ended in a place of renewed hope. I won't elaborate, but the family returning to his place hit home with me very powerfully. I just did this very thing with my sons a couple of weeks ago. Thank you.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Good Stuff!

      What a writer!

      Thanks for sharing,


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Ooh that made me feel good. I'm glad you enjoyed my story and more than happy I could help begin your day with a smile. Thank YOU dear friend. I look forward to the other responses to your wonderful challenge.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, what a beautiful response to the challenge, Mary. I had tears in my eyes as I read this lovely story of two lovers and their bond...and the mountains that kept him with her long after his passing. What a wonderful way to begin my day. Thank you dear done good! :)


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