Homage to the mountains

There are moments in life that burn themselves deep into the mind and become unforgettable memories. Inside you know that something very special just happened and afterwards nothing can ever be the same again. Until that moment, I would never have thought it possible that a sight could ever fascinate me so much and turn my emotional world upside down.

I was in the mountains for the first time, and on the edge of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, I suddenly found myself standing in front of the gigantic massif of the mountains Rjavina und Luknja Pec. Literally struck by this sight, awe, admiration and fear alternated steadily and a certain magical attraction spread inside.

Not without reason, in some cultures mountains have been considered sacred for centuries and people believe that the gods dwell on their peaks. They are the direct link between heaven and earth. In ancient cultures, people believed that the energy on earth was distributed across the mountain peaks. The Nepalese Sherpa, for example, hold a puja ceremony every time before they set foot on a mountain. Through offerings, they ask the gods for their blessing to climb the mountain safely and at the same time try to appease them.


Mount Kazbek in Georgia hidden behind clouds. In the foreground its glacier tongue – (click for larger view)


Since time immemorial, mountain landscapes have exerted an intrinsic fascination on people and have been places of spiritual experience. I think anyone who has witnessed a sunrise or sunset in the mountains can attest to that, no matter what you believe in.

Mountains also act as weather dividers and determine life at their feet. Springs arise from them and become rivers, filling entire landscapes with life. Their size makes them ideal landmarks, and when they spit fire into the air, cause flash floods, or shake avalanches from their frosty bodies, offerings are made again to this day to appease the gods. Strong winds, extreme temperatures and a surreal icy landscape make it seem as if one has entered the gateway to another world.


The Masherbrum in the Karakorum Mountains, Pakistan – (click for larger view)


This is exactly what also makes this fascinating and has not let me go since that day. In the modern world, people are often only really alive in short moments before routine and everyday life take you back. It is all the more difficult to get an idea of the ancient forces nature plays with if you have never felt them on your own body before. This simple life lets us return to our origins and shows how quickly it becomes a matter of viability in nature. Up here, one is completely in the present and at the same time only a bit of dust that can be vanished forever into eternity with one breath. Never before have I felt so alive and the same time so humble!

To understand what I mean, however, you don’t have to go so high up or fight your way into impassable areas. It is enough not to immediately flee as a reflex at the next rain shower, but to simply stop, close your eyes and look up, as unpleasant as it may be in the first few seconds. When you get involved and feel the cold rain on your skin, how it runs down your cheeks and triggers an icy shiver. When you feel the raindrops pattering on your face, you truly realize what it means to be alive. You feel yourself!

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