I still haven’t fully recovered from the 2003 collapse of the Old Man of the Mountain, the natural rock formation resembling a human face in profile which was the symbol of my home state of New Hampshire. In my childhood, I envisioned men on ropes clambering reverently over the face, patching up holes and strengthening the weaknesses created by erosion. This job occupied a place in my mind similar to that held by lighthouse keepers, another patently New England office. Imagine being the caretaker and getting the call, the voice on the phone disbelieving and perhaps cracking just a little. You were in charge of keeping that face, the symbol of the patient resolve of the people who carve a life out of the granite, safe from the ravages of time, and now that symbol has fallen, never to be repaired. The thing stood for uncounted millenia, and it fell in my lifetime. You can never go home again, because your home has fallen to pieces.
Also in 2003, the world’s first openly gay bishop was elected in NH. This is presumably not related.