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Embracing The Himalayas


Let’s change our surfing routine into something different, but still somehow similar. Somebody told me that snow is only frozen water anyway…

Embracing The Himalayas

My feet are captured inside bindings. Below them a narrow board with silver edges. I am racing down the mountain, sliding sideways over icy slopes, flying towards the bottom, jumping over hidden rocks and cliffs, not touching the surface for dozens of meters.

The panorama is blinding me with the reflection of frozen snowflakes. The air is crisp, dry, without smell or taste. It penetrates through my mouth, opening my soul, making me ready to experience the spell of the mountain. I can hear the beginning of an echoing song, expecting it to develop into the sound of a thousand thunders, but instead there is only the gentle cry of the colossus imprisoned inside its stationary foundation. It is a joyless giant with happiness and hope lost in the squeeze of motionless roots. Singing is just its way to tell a lonely tale.

There are no people in sight, nothing on the horizon. Even trees cannot survive at this altitude. The infinity of white fields is passing through my eyes. My brain switches to a mode of tranquility, my mind slowing down. I can barely think. Now my soul surrenders completely.

Twilight shows me the way. I arrive just in time to look up one more time. To lay my eyes on the top of the mountain. This is a true perspective. It puts me in the right place in the hierarchy of existence, deep down at the bottom of it all.

I open the bindings, remove the board from under my feet and turn back to the mountain. It feels funny walking.

The Himalayas have rewarded me with more than I expected. This mountain is powerful and magnificent, but in a quiet way. Its strength is projected into the material world with an eternally shining, peaceful aura. Here I feel high as though on drugs, my mind unaware of moments in time. Conciseness is left behind in another dimension.


– Tea, please.

The dining room is painted white. Behind the bar is a smiling waiter, in front a bearded man with a backpack growing out of his back. He looks sincerely happy when I enter through the creaky doors.

– Hey, I’ve seen you here before.

He tries to start a conversation. I can understand why, it’s easy to feel lonely around these peaks. The tea is warm and sweet, I sip it with a lust inside my thirsty throat. The howl of the mountain still reverbrates through my chest. I finish my drink, leaving the lonely duo in the humid room.

Several steps across a narrow path covered with snow. There are a few scrappy houses hanging from the cliff. One of them is my home in Auli. Cold water in the bathroom, a room with a futon on the floor and a dark chimney.

I light a fire, take off my clothes and lie down. The mountain softly starts to leave my soul. I try to feel its breath. Sometimes I can listen to it all night. I’ve never dreamed so many dreams.


Rain has been falling all night. It’s bad news for me. The mountain does not have a problem with the falling liquid, it is time for the season of flourishing blossoms. Life is awakening, enjoying the gifts of rain, growing steadily in front of my eyes. I can already see greenness in the valleys below.

Tomorrow I will have to walk further, higher. My clothes are constantly wet, humidity is entering the calendar. Now the end is near. Once more, winter is losing its soft robe. It is disappearing day by day.


There is a canyon of soft, precious snow hidden inside permanent shade. I enjoy it all morning. A lost diamond, a sweet cake left for my ultimate joy. The hike is steep and exhausting, but I don’t feel tired. Just to carve a couple more deep turns, savor them inside my mind, so they can stay there and help me to survive until next winter.

With the incoming darkness I come to the inevitable decision.


*                    *                 *


– How was it? What about the Himalayas?

I knew they would ask me this question long before I returned to my home town. For a long time I have been preparing an answer, trying to put a picture of the magnificent mountain into words. To describe its uniqueness, its power and beauty. Its sadness. The feelings I experienced on the blinding slopes. Shape the memories of my travel into something meaningful and share them with people I love.

But this time I don’t have anything to share. The touches of the mountains, the embrace of the Himalayas, have vanished from my mind like unknown ghosts. The deceptive world of emotions has tricked me again. There is nothing left, I am empty from top to bottom. Only selected reminiscences remain. The tea I drank every evening in the white painted dining room, the hard futon on the floor, the humidity I can still feel in my bones. And these are things nobody really cares about.

I share smiles and hugs.

– It was nice.

Together we walk into the night.