Friday, August 25

one day

One August day I was coming down from the hard, bitter region of whiteness, where gusts of sleet were swirling and storms were building up. I knew that all too soon various things would keep me from returning to that celestial country of jagged ridges dancing in the open sky; to the illusion of high and low places in the white cornices that were etched against the blue-black abyss overhead and slowly crumbled in the mid-afternoon silence; and to the slopes carved with ridges and glistening with ice where grapeshot suddenly explodes with the smell of sulphur. Once again I had wanted to sniff the greenish breath of a crevasse, explore a boulder's surface, slip between crumbling rocks, secure a rope, test the rise and fall of an uncertain wind, listen to the sound of steel on ice and the little crystalline clumps tumbling towards the pitfall of a hidden crevasse—a death trap powdered and draped with gems. I wanted to make a track in the diamonds and the flour, entrust myself to two strands of hemp, and eat prunes in the centre of space. Climbing down through a blanket of clouds, I had stopped level with the first saxifrage before a huge ice slide, a gigantic scarf with pearly folds that spiralled downward to the great desert of stones at the bottom.

-- René Daumal Mount Analogue
Translated by Roger Shattuck

Kilimanjaro 2006 Blog

(Simon Winnall and Ian Winstanley are raising money for ME research by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in September)