WHY THE MOUNTAINS?

To SP_26 2012

To climb atop a rickety bus and grip harder at the turns. To not bathe for a week. To answer nature’s call in nature.
To awaken at five, look out the tent-flap, and exult. To play high-altitude kho-kho in an oxygen-rare environment. To be deafened by the patter of a million raindrops on canvas. To lie in, and smell of, sleeping bags.
To savour food cooked on a wood fire. To devour Maggi with five-star relish. To be unable to feel my fingers while washing up after dinner. To share a plate with someone.
To inhale the fragrance of unused socks. To cherish carrying almost everything I need, in my rucksack, myself. To bond with my trekking stick.
To stumble upon a trail in a pine forest. To find myself walled in by a copse of conifers. To collect pine-cones.
To watch the tops of trees sway gently. To watch the shadows of leaves dance on other leaves. To discover a million new shades of the colour green.
To walk barefoot across a meadow and scrunch the grass between my toes. To tread carefully, lest I step on flowers.
To lie back and contemplate the clouds. To doze off on a sunlit rock and have a butterfly land on my nose.
To drink straight from a mountain stream. To scan its shallows for coral, mica and shale. To paddle in its frigid current until my feet are comfortably numb. To drowse to the gurgle of gushing water.
To watch horses graze by the riverside. To befriend a dog. To cuddle a baby sheep.
To turn the corner of a mountain, and behold only white and blue. To skid across a frozen pond. To know such a thing as too much snow.
To scald my hand with hot tea. To toast my palms on a cheery campfire. To wear three layers of clothing and complain about the heat.
To stand upon a summit and feel small but significant. To sear my lungs with clear cold air. To have my curls tousled by nature’s blow-dryer. To be burnt black by the sun.
To slide down three hundred feet of snow, and be sure I’ll never feel such pain again. To be aware of the existence and exhaustion of every muscle in my body. To smile beatifically with the happiness of victory.
To marvel at the faint golden glow of sunrays reflected off a snow peak. To be a little closer to the stars. To sing softly to myself.
To neither know nor care about the world back home. To not want to go back.
To hear the whisper of my own thoughts. To stop thinking for a while. To be one with myself.

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