It was a gorgeous day for hiking in the White Mountains. A light breeze was blowing, the sun was shining, and in the surrounding trees was the twitter of a multitude of birds singing for the sheer joy of life. As we neared the top of Mount Moosilauke, the weather-beaten trees became gradually smaller and smaller until they disappeared altogether. When our family had attained the summit, we sat down on some rocks to rest our legs. Easing our backpacks from our sweaty backs, we fished out our sandwiches and some well earned Powerade™. I fumbled in my bag for my Nikon D3100. The top of the mighty Moosilauke commanded an amazing panorama of the surrounding land.
Looking east, I gazed down into the valley. Four thousand feet below me lay the tiny town of Lincoln. Along the valley, snaked the Pemigewasset river and beyond this stretched ranges upon ranges of mountains. Far to the northeast, Mt. Washington was a pale blue triangle rising above the other Presidentials. Turning to the west, I observed that the mountains slowly petered out to a flat, featureless land.
Cautiously, I scrambled over the wind and storm swept rocks looking for the perfect angle to photograph the wide landscape. I was amazed at the fact that although the rocks seemed so bare, yet life struggled on. It was as though a mighty hand had designed the foliage up here to thrive on these barren slopes. Cradled in a crevice, the picturesque petals of a flower peeked out at me. The many small white flowers at the tips of slender stalks rose from tufts of basal leaves. From these leaves rose a faint but sweet aroma. The white blossoms opened to the sun as if to soak in its rays with all its energy.
This special little bloom, commonly known in the White Mountains as Smooth Sandwort has more than half a dozen names. From the Latin term Minuartia groenlandica, we get the common name Greenland Stichwort. Ranging from Nunavut, in northern Canada, all the way down to South Carolina, USA, this tough little flower grows on rocky ledges in areas of high elevation where the bedrock is exposed. Uncommon in warmer climates, this little flower seems to thrive in colder zones. As I think about this little flower, so hardy, yet so little known, I marvel how God sustains life even on the seemingly bare mountain tops.