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The Eagle and the Marmot


What is simplicity? Perhaps the real meaning of climbing a mountain lies in the quest for purity of rationale. To be close to one's natural environment, one must interact directly with it, and such interaction must take precedence over all.


It is thus with the conquering of a mountain. Decisions, and therefore all thought, are taken only about this interaction. This singular interaction brings an utterly pure and stark focus.


One of the most simple decisions one can make is whether to climb or not. This is not an easy decision to make, as simple as it is when you have spent days and months preparing, arriving and climbing the mountain, and you are a mere few hours from the peak, and despite those months and days of preparation and climbing, those few hours are all behind schedule. 


These few extra hours mean night is drawing in, and because simplicity requires a certain gravitas, in order to ensure that only one thought remains in mind, there is also a storm brewing, brooding, a gathering force that obeys only the laws of nature, over which we have no control and can only at times challenge yet always abide by.


How many hours until the top? Until nightfall? Until the storm breaks? Real courage is being able to turn around and go back down, and knowing when to turn around is the greatest lesson one learns in the mountains. For the absurd motto "never give up" is a travesty, a sacrilege. and only said by those who are spectators who have nothing to give up.


Today on my walk through the forest I came across a boulder shaped like a mountain I has once nearly climbed, decades ago. Perhaps I could have made it to the top, but then comes the next consideration, of making it back down. Of course there is always the third option of just staying at the top, all night, in the storm, waiting until morning to try to come down, assuming of course the storm has moved on and you have survived.


On my forest walk this morning I pause at the rock, and remember, and then continue my walk.


the eagle cries

and yet the marmot still watches

and is watched

and the eagle still flies

because marmots watch