Dear me who puts my precious life in the hands of a mountain,
What does “safety first” really means? Everyone has a different interpretation and every organization have varied guidelines. In the construction industry following the safety guidelines like wearing PPE’s secures much of my safety, stick to it and there is a high percentage I’ll be safe.
“The last rays of the day’s sun warm my back and my stare locks onto my own shadow. I follow the lines of my body on the stone in front of me, spreading my arms as wings, and bathe in the beauty of existence.” –Dean Potter
But put man in a different setting like a mountain and it’s a different ball game. The risks are not contained, anything could go wrong even a well planned climb. Nature is unpredictable and peted against the most advanced technology, anything could still go wrong.
Planning, survival skills, right gears, training, common sense and experience could go a long way for me to survive. When all fails, I rely on my own will power, my climbing team, the writings on my palms and maybe His intercession.
“But if you don’t understand life yet, why do you want to learn about death? Let yourself ponder about it when life is already over.” – Confucius
The recent loss of lives of several mountaineers a few months back is a stark reality – they just add up to statistics. The authorities blamed them for not properly coordinating with tourism, securing guides and blah blah blah. Are this all true or were they washing their hands off any responsibility? Where did it all go wrong?
Maybe I can learn if someone from the group would be brave enough to go back at the scene in his mind and let it out but some people told me it is too sensitive to be talked about. If it were me, I would give you the facts and leave you to judge me and my actions or rather my in-actions.
“I love the mountains, regardless of the grade of the difficulties. In the future I will continue to climb mountains, this is what is important for me.” – Alexander Huber
So how do I fight the odds? I set up a personal safety guideline or do’s and don’ts in the hope that it would help minimize the risk of losing my most important gift – my life. I’ll stick to it like a chewed gum under the table and pair it with knowledge, training and experience and maybe I have a stack against the unpredictability of nature. Maybe.
Amidst the risk, I will not let ‘safety first’ trap me into the bubble of comfort that would suppress me to live passionately and freely.
Because if it all fails and my life is lost, my life with all its wins, loses, disappointments, rejection and joys is not wasted because it was lived with a passion – the passion to love, the passion to climb mountains.
“Dying is the simplest thing. I’ve been close to death before, very near death, and in those moments I never had the feeling that the afterlife was important.” – Reinhold Messner
The ones whom I’ve walked with will remember me, the lives I’ve touched while on the trail because of my random act kindness will live on and hopefully will be passed on to another, the kindness I’ve received I will scatter it to the wind to reach its giver, the laughter and stories I’ve shared were heard and will echo in the deep recesses of the plants as they grow, in the rocks as they crumbled from the onslaught of rain to return as earth, in the wind that goes from east to west and the rain that washed away my burdens.
I might become a statistic but my footprints was felt by the earth, by the wind, witnessed by the sun. The people who loves me and those I love will remember that love, my smile, how warm is my embrace.
I have left a part of me on the trunks of trees that hauled me up, on the stones that anchored my steps, on the earth that bore my weight, on the leaves that touched my hand, on the dew that fell on the earth as I pass by and on the leech that shared my blood.
The trails I’ve walked on have become silent witnesses to my inner pains, to the yearnings of my soul, to my love of another that I haven’t fully translated into words and actions, to my dreams and aspirations of a future that has come to an end.
May death be sitting next to you. This way, when you need to make important things it will give you the necessary strength and courage to accomplish them.
Maybe when a life is lost to nature, a part of them dies too. But until then, I’ll live chasing the sunrise on top of one summit after another. I will live one mountain at a time.#