There is some weird logic of how the mountains seem to teach me the most significant lessons of my life. Right from teaching me to fear strong winds and heights to showing me that there is no solace in restlessness and that every once in a while ‘letting go’ doesn’t amount to forgetting. I have consistently allowed the mountains, whether in the distance or when I have lived on them, to dictate the pace of my life. They aren’t hopeless like the sea which only returns back from where it comes. They are old, thoughtful and inspiring. They aren’t around to ensure hope or serenity, they have been created to challenge and question us. I love that, I seek that when I face a mountain because in its enormity lies a quiet power. Distinguished, calm and untamed.
In the mountains somebody is challenging themselves to conquer not just the heights that make the mountain but the kind that makes them. She is not afraid of failing or turning back but she is afraid of reaching the top where it will be lonely again as she will not have the solace of the effort. The effort is what makes her forget her day job, her tribulations with the men she puts up with and the ones she chooses not to sleep with. Those decisions don’t seem as monumental anymore. This, here, is a great leveller. Not the fast approaching darkness but the slowly setting sun is what eggs her on.
On another mountain, or make that a valley somewhere, there is man sitting around a fire. He watches a group of people sing some of his favourite tunes. The world is still, nothing like the noise of the airports or the repeated announcements and endless cups of coffee that kept him awake. There are no boarding passes, no earphones and no turbulence. There isn’t somebody waiting for a call to announce that he has landed. No business cards to be handed out. No gifts to be bought for the girlfriend. There is music in the air and there is a determination to detach. Because its easy, because there is meaning in the words of the man serving him tea. The man speaks of lost traditions and forgotten politeness. He speaks not of a time gone by but of people that have changed. He listens to the old man, throws in some sugar into his tea and walks towards the music. Not a thought of the world below that mountain. This is his world now.
Two friends trudge along a gently steeping path winding around a mountain. They do not speak, yet their friendship grows. They were at a pub in a city, any city, just a few days ago or it could have been a few years ago, making a pact. They had decided to leave it all behind. Not the money or the jobs or the people but just the mundane and the replaceable. They wanted to cut their losses before their soul resigned. They didn’t want the meaningless socialising or the roads filled with traffic. They wanted no congestion in their paths, nothing but rocks and tall grass to have to negotiate instead of clogged roads. They didn’t want to be surrounded with hoardings or reasons to spend their money on things that were forgotten soon. They wanted fewer memories, on the condition that they would last longer. They wanted longer nights staring at the skies. They wanted to meet people they would never have otherwise made conversation to. They were changing every minute as they walked unlike a time they were forced to change everyday just because the world around them was. The mountains were not an escape for them. As the clouds set in and the rains thrashed against them, there were only smiles on their faces. Because there was no monotony, nothing expected, no people to return to and no ambitions to be met.
This, temporarily, or for the rest of all their lives is what will keep them awake at nights. Keep them restless and content at the same time. The mountains is where your world may not begin, but it will sure give it definition and a sense of the ending you have always wanted. Go to the mountains now!