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The mountains are a mystic place; unlike anything else we encounter in our daily environment. In our fast paced modern society where everything changes in the blink of an eye, and structures are constantly being demolished and rebuilt, the lofty peaks on the horizon remain steadfast. In comparison to them, our lives are over in the blink of an eye; millions of humans have lived and passed, and yet the mountains still remain. To think, that these snowy fortresses came into being thousands of years before our time, and will remain thousands of years after we are gone. In the globalised, interconnected state that we now call home, the mountains remain one of the few places where one can find true remoteness; a place where survival is not a given, it is earned. A vestige of a bygone era, these peaks seem to possess some mystic secret, that one can only know by being in the mountains themselves.
Our culture values a sense of grandness and scale, and pays worship to those places that possess it; yet sadly, some of the grandest places are often overlooked, and worshipped far less. These ancient pillars of ice and snow and earth, enduring in their solidarity, withstanding time’s decay, came into being long before the birth of man, and will remain long after his passing. It is a characteristic of a narcissistic society that we use man and his creations as our yardstick for measuring our environment, yet by venturing into these lonely peaks, we can see just how small and insignificant we are. To gain true perspective, try standing amongst the peaks. It is easy to become wrapped in the realities of our daily lives, and to see no further than our beginning and end; but by paying our respects to these ancient pillars, and visiting these places of snowy worship, we can come to appreciate a much greater existence than our own, on a scale that far surpasses ours.
The modern human nation holds life and survival to be a right; all but forgotten are the times where life was a privilege, and survival had to be fought for. We have become so accustomed to the security of our existence, that the appreciation of this security has long since waned. It is common testament from adventurers and adventure junkies that high-risk and survival situations make them truly appreciate their own life and existence. The mountains are no different. Venturing into their harsh and fragile environment will make us appreciate the comfort and security of our own. In an ever changing landscape of jagged rock, broken ice, and falling snow, plagued by storms and sun and wind, survival is not a given, it is earned. There is no hospital around the corner to mend your wounds, no McDonalds to fill your stomach, and no soft pillow to rest your head. These peaks are a harsh and unforgiving place, where the only thing that exceeds their rugged tenacity, is their unrivalled beauty. It is true that some of the most inhospitable places on Earth are also some of the most beautiful; and in the harsh beauty of these hills, we can accept the beauty and fragility of our own existence.
By foot, by ski, by helicopter, or by plane, each and every person that draws breath should at some point make their own pilgrimage to the mountains. There is magic in the mountains, magic that one can only grasp by venturing there themselves. In our society of globalisation and domestication, it is easy to become so embroiled in our own existence, that we fail to recognise the significance of a larger one. Go to the untamed heart of the wilderness; pay your worship to the enduring pillars of ice and rock; watch as the snow drifts over the weathered faces of the glaciers; most importantly, understand for yourself the magic of the mountains, and listen as the lonely winds whisper their secrets in your ear.