Why we go

There is snow on the ground. I can see it as it whirs past the passenger side window. The road is narrowing, which means that soon I will be there, at the place, where the climb is. I wonder if my friend actually slept in the parking lot, if he will be there this morning at 6 am, so that we can go and try and see what the air is like up there.

Somehow, we find the approach trail, the correct one, right away.

The snow is fresh, two feet of it, and there is no ice on top. Just beautiful, flowing banks of white, abutting pillars of brown and strange shapes of grey.

I can’t feel my hands or my feet. They aren’t cold, I am just not aware of what they are doing. I am sitting in a leather chair in an auditorium in my mind, giving commands and watching the sun rise out of the eye-windows.

We gain the talus field as the sun gains the horizon. I wonder, perhaps it is that “beauty” was conceived here, on this slope, in a moment like this. We humans use that word slanderously, like firing a gun, and this time when I say it, I feel as though the moment is holding the gun and I am the target.

I wonder what right humans have to name such things as these. Every thing here is anchored to our reality by comma delimited lists of ordered letters. There are sounds that go along with them. I don’t make these sounds for fear of breaking something beautiful.

There are no tracks in the snow and no holes in the ice. It is all silent, brooding, cantankerous, and I think, angry. Not at, or for; but just angry, furious with energy.

It doesn’t take long and we are at the top, and then we are down, and driving away.

The climb remains, significant. A thing that will be present in every remaining moment, because it happened.

Why do we go to the mountains?

For the experience of having the world impose its will and meaning on our lives, and because it feels so damn good to be free.

Will Leith

DCIM128GOPRO DCIM128GOPRO DCIM128GOPRO Photo Dec 21, 3 53 37 PM