THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN
The Old Man of the Mountain fell from the mountain today.
High above the Franconia Notch gateway to northern New Hampshire there is an old man. He has been described as a relentless tyrant, a fantastic freak, and a learned philosopher, feeble and weak about the mouth and of rarest beauty, stern and solemn, one of the most remarkable wonders of the mountain world.
Daniel Webster once said, ..."Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men." Thus it happens that New Hampshire has her Profile, "The Old Man of the Mountain," sublimely outlined against the western sky; a sign unique, distinctive, and inspirational as to the kind of men the sons of the Granite State should be.
The Old Man of the Mountain has several names including "The Profile", "The Great Stone Face", "The Old Man," and "The Old Man of the Mountains".
The Profile is composed of Conway red granite and is an illusion formed by five ledges, that when lined up correctly give the appearance of an old man with an easterly gaze, clearly distinct and visible from only a very small space near Profile Lake. When viewed from other locations in Franconia Notch, the same five ledges have a very rough and ragged appearance, and there is no suggestion of The Profile.
Geological opinion is that The Profile on Profile Mountain is supposed to have been brought forth partly as the result of the melting and slipping away action of the ice sheet that covered the Franconia Mountains at the end of the glacial period, and partly by the action of the frost and ice in crevices, forcing off, and moving about certain rocks and ledges into profile forming positions. It is supposed that the Old Man of the Mountain was completed during the latter part of the post glacial period, from 2,000 to 10,000 years ago.
The Old Man is formed on a shoulder of Profile Mountain, which juts out abruptly
into space, some 1200 feet above Profile Lake. It is composed of five layers
of granite ledge, one exactly above the other, the lateral distance being 25
feet. Of these five layers one forms the chin, another the upper lip, a third
the nose and two layers make up the forehead. The Old Man has been measured
as being forty feet and five inches in height. It is all together, just as it
appears to be when viewed from the road or lake below.
The Old Man
by Robert F Doane
Published 1939 at 13 years of age
Campton New Hampshire
On the crest of a mighty mountain
Looking over the lake below,
A face with a human expression
Watches many a century go.
It was made from a mountain of granite
With the skill of a sculptor's hand,
And guards the green valley below it
As time passes over the land.
At dusk when the birds cease their carols
And the wind murmurs through the trees,
There's a sense of sadness about you,
As you stand in the evening breeze.
You feel that a great respect's due him -
So mighty beneath the blue sky,
There are few who have not been inspired
By that face as they've passed it by.
And to me, as to Daniel Webster,
The thought comes now and again
That in the great State of New Hampshire
The Master of Sculptors makes men.
The Old Man
By Cameron D. Tanguay
Written 2003 at 12 years of age
Down fell a face
Of a million years counting
The king of the mountain
And guard of the valley below
The last generation
The very last era
Never to see again
From Gods sculpting hands
The mountains of New Hampshire,
God Almighty has hung out a sign to show,
That there, He makes man.
Only memories will do now the justice
Of Gods great creation
Of the man who peeks out from the mountain,
OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN COLLAPSES
(Concord, N.H.) The Old Man of the Mountain, the enduring symbol of the State of New Hampshire, is no more. Some time between Friday evening and Saturday morning, the stone profile that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Franconia Notch State Park each year collapsed. On Saturday, May 3 at approximately 7:30 a.m., two Franconia Notch State Park employees noticed that the Old Man of the Mountain had collapsed. At this time it appears as though the forehead and the nose are missing.
Currently, state officials including Governor Craig R. Benson, Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald, the State Police, Department of Fish and Game and Franconia Notch State Park employees are assessing the damage and ensuring that there are no safety issues.
The weather has been extremely harsh in Franconia Notch over the last few days. High winds, fog and heavy rain, along with freezing temperatures overnight, may have all contributed to the collapse, although no official cause can be determined until a full inspection of the site takes place.
THE OLD MAN LEAVES MAN TO HIS DESTRUCTION
The sun no longer shines in the land of forever war.The moon with one last wearisome look, took her silver dust and escaped to a distant galaxy, to dance amongst the stars of peace. The Old Man of the Mountain, his craggy face worn and polished from many a storm, wrapped a garland of pine boughs, intertwined with lilac blooms and grape vines around her fragile frame and walked with her along the Milky Way in the hushed silence of timeless majesty.
An odd couple to be sure, this man of granite fortitude, courage and comforting embrace. His deeply lined countenance, bore the worn pathways of torrential rains, biting sleet, and winter's blizzards isolating loneliness. Summer's warmth would see him brush the last iced tear from darkened eyes, no man could see. He, the guardian of northern forests, noted man's intrusive plunder. Decades passed, his eyes sunk deeper, that men below of mirth and greed might not see an Old Man weep.
In anguished watchfulness, he sobbed, as friends below; the bridal pines,
the swaying birch, the ancient oaks who saw his birth, the mischievous hemlocks,
and autumn's symphony of youthful maples cried out in silent sepulcher, that
they be saved from massacre. The Old Man knew that men of heartless, cruel contempt,
could not hear the cries of trees. And so they came with saws and hatchets,
logging trucks and big machines.
They chopped and hacked, stripped and raped, until the desecration was complete.
Far below he saw the carnage, of lifeless skeletal murdered friends. Gone the
song birds joyful laughter, woodland creatures, the trees soft chatter. Parking
lots, and ribbon concrete, tourist shops, neon motels, and rowdy tourists; dressed
in plaids and argil socks, came in cars, trucks, and trailers grand to photograph
the Old Man's grief.
Some climbed upon his lofty brow, their vulgar laughter echoed loud over consecrated
ground that held a mighty massacre. They could not see nor did they care, of
poisoned streams and toxic air. He alone could hear the cries of carnage in
the forests north. Then came the semis filled with waste, garbage, from surrounding
towns and concrete canyons out of state. Burning gasses filled the air, it's
then he knew his Watch was ended.
She came to him one moonlit night, and under clouds heavy midst, he heaved a final sob and left. No one heard him leave in thunder, he simply took her in his arms, as chariots of stars carried them off. They traveled through the moonless night over oceans, rivers, and streams polluted. Over forests and mountains plundered, and war torn lands soaked with blood. They heard the mighty sounds of missiles, bombs, and guns and little shredded children weeping.
Genesis 1:14-17; Job 22:12-17; 37:18.
She translucent, ever changing, sometimes silver, sometimes waning, held his
blackened granite hand, light and darkness now were one. His scars visible,
hers hidden in craters deep, over a turquoise planet now filled with sorrow.
And just before the Man of Granite and Moonlit Maiden took their leave, to walk
along the Milky Way- they stopped and whispered to the watchful warriors left
behind," We go to find a place for thee, a place of sun and moon and stars,
of clapping trees and pristine streams. A place that's absent of all strife,
where lamb and lion play together. Stay the course and do not falter, keep the
light and never fear, WE'LL SOON RETURN WITH THE PRINCE OF PEACE."