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Steep and slippery toughts
Beyond the Surface of the snowy mountain ridges.
Hi I'm Karim and everyday I write a new story, to evade from the routine or to question my deepest inner toughts. Come along and fuel your inspiration, 5 minutes a day!
The mountains are a very special place where I have always been able to find peace in the never-ending horizon. It's like having an altruistic teacher that teaches me valuable lessons I cherish for the rest of my life. Whenever I go to the mountains, I am never disappointed and always amazed by its wild surprises. The immense immobility of these silent creatures can move your deepest thoughts. There is also something therapeutic about being alone, feeling small in the face of the vast immensity of our world. That's why a part of my heart will always belong to the mystic mountains.
Yesterday, as I climbed the slippery slopes of Mont Pécloz in Savoie, France, I remembered my first climbs with my mother when I was about 7 years old. One Saturday night, my mom told me, "Tomorrow, we are going to 'el zapato al revez'." So I slept early and got my bag ready. By 8:30, I was falling asleep when the door of my room burst open. It was already time to wake up. My eyes itched as if someone had squeezed lemon on them, and all my senses told me to go back to bed. But my mother was already in her high brown boots, and Gianni, my cousin, was waiting outside with the dogs. Everyone seemed to have been up for hours, and as a young 7-year-old, I followed them. I packed some sweet goodies in my bag and some fruit because my mom said it was important, a bottle of water, and I was ready to go. I raced down the house entrance with my two dogs chasing me with their tongues dangling wet from their smiling dog faces. The car ride to the mountain was short but wonderful. There's something special about riding side by side with your pet dog on empty Sunday morning avenues.
As we started the climb, the excitement masked the monotone flat walk in the beginning. We could still talk comfortably, just like a walk in the park, but once it started getting steeper, we could only hear each other's breaths as the physical pressure increased. Now, more than 10 years later, on a different continent, on a mountain covered in snow, and not warm sand, I still recall the same feeling that transported me back to that very moment with my mother and cousin in the "Zapato al revez." My hands were slipping on humid mud, and with still 1000 meters to go, I remembered to play the game, one step at a time and one breath at a beat. The hike now transformed into a moving meditation, and I was drifted away by the current of nature. Taken by this current, I could see my deepest thoughts pass by like the trees I overlooked. In the never-ending march, nothing else seemed to matter, so I could finally assess those vicious troubles that tormented and nagged my mind 24/7.
This time, in the icy ridges of La Savoie in France, I felt whole again in the deep snowy silence. All the noise from the city life and my own busy life was gone, replaced by the whistling wind and occasional rock slides. In that nothingness, I remembered the feeling of floating, living with no weight. That feeling that all the gurus try to explain through years of mental practice and meditation, I can skip all of that with my friends, the mountains. They help me find that peace, and I wish I could stay in their arms forever, but it's cold up here, and it's already getting dark. So, I proceeded to start the descent.
Approaching the first ridge, I realized that I had climbed too high. In the trance of silent peace, I had lost track of time. Panic set in as fear filled my mind - how would I ever make it back? I was already too deep in, too far out. I feared I would be lost, frozen into eternity. Fortunately, the wind at the mountain top roared like the most intimidating beast, more intimidating than the fact of freezing to death. So, I took the leap and started climbing down, in any way; physically possible - on my ass, on crazy daredevil hangs, and frightening lunges.
In that moment, the only thing that mattered was the present - the grip of my fingers, the tightness of my leg muscles, the posture of my spine, and, most importantly, my breath. The fear of death, falling, or anything else disappeared. Finally, my feet hit flat ground, at least somewhat, where one doesn't have to hang on to their life at every moment. Like the moments we love the most in life, that feeling of weightlessness was already gone, now just a memory I tried to hold on to as much as I could.
The Mountains had other plans, of course. The whole way back was left, and with every step I took, my thoughts shifted and twirled. By the time I made it to the parking lot, my mind had already raced a million times. But even though I was now back in the lower grounds, that feeling of floating stayed with me. It inspired my daily life. Every time anxiety kicks in, and my mind starts to race like a beheaded chicken, I try to take it one step at a time, one breath at a time, just like when coming down those lethal ridges.