Thursday, January 22, 2015

As if something so forbiddingly colossal must somehow be friendly

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I think back to the enthralled group silent in the face of the majestic beauty of Machhapuchhre last night and I wonder if we aren’t all in danger of falling into the romantic delusion that by staring at these great massifs of rock and ice we achieve some form of communication with them, as if something so forbiddingly colossal must somehow be friendly.

The mountains are far more likely to be enemies than friends. We take them on at our peril and, despite all nature’s warnings, long to go higher. And the higher we go the more the mountains tighten their grip, squeezing the life out of most people, gently in some cases, more severely in others. The locals who see the mountains as gods to be appeased are only translating pragmatic experience. Human beings are not meant to live at these heights and they should expect trouble if they do.

~ Michael Palin, Himalaya, 2004

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