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A personal event March 24, 2009

Posted by Jenny in memoir.
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When I created this blog, I did not intend it to be a a diary of my personal life.  However, something very important has happened to me and I want to share it with my blog visitors.

My longtime companion, Bob, told me two days ago that he wanted to end our relationship.  We met in 1994, and we have lived together since 1995.  You could have considered us more or less a married couple, except that, being unconventional people, we never particularly wanted or needed to have our relationship formalized.

There were, in fact, many unconventional aspects to our relationship.  Most striking, probably, was that I was nearly ten years older than him in a world that prizes youthfulness in women.  There were other oddities: he worked for UPS, while I’ve had desk jobs most of my life apart from a stint of landscape/ gardening work.  He did most of the cooking, and I did most of the yard work.

We met when hiking in the White Mountains, and we have climbed countless mountains together—hundreds of mountains, anyway.  That was our biggest shared interest, but we also skied, biked, and paddled canoes together.  We shared tastes in humor, in movies, and in music.

The reasons he gave me for leaving were perfectly understandable.  It wasn’t anything bad—he hadn’t met another woman or anything like that. It was more like a gradual loss of sparkle, I guess.  And maybe Bob just isn’t quite as interested in hiking as he used to be, though the outdoors will always be important to him.  He did say that he wanted to spend more time doing things like cookouts with his family.  I’ve never been much of a hang-around-the grill-for-the-afternoon kind of person.  I’m just no good at small talk—I always feel like I’m faking it.  Bottom line is, I get bored.

Sunday afternoon, after Bob packed up his things and left, I watched a DVD that I’d recently ordered because it had been mentioned on one of the Internet forums I visit.  It was about George Masa, a mysterious man who came to the US from Japan in 1901 to work in the mining business and eventually settled in Asheville, NC, because he loved the mountains of western North Carolina.  He had a photography business and took wonderful pictures in the Smokies and nearby ranges.   As the movement grew for establishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, he became a major force in that effort, exploring, measuring trail distances with a gadget made out of a bicycle wheel, always taking many beautiful pictures of the mountains.

Nobody ever knew why he left Japan.  He died nearly penniless in 1933, having no contacts with anyone in his native country.  Many years later, a peak in the Smokies was named after him in his honor.  Masa Knob, elevation 5685 feet, stands between Charlies Bunion and Mt. Kephart, the latter named after his dear friend Horace Kephart.

It’s hard to explain why, but I find the thought of George Masa to be very comforting.  It has something to do with his being a solitary soul, because I recognize that I too, in some ways, am a solitary sort.

George Masa

George Masa