MOUNTAIN CLIMBING

 Alpine buttercups on Mount Elbert in Spring.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
— ISAAC NEWTON - 1676.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MOUNTAINS


80% of fresh water on Earth originates in the mountains.
That is, nearly all our major, life-giving rivers find their source in some mountain or other.
20% of the Earth's surface is mountainous.
Moreover, those mountainous climates often cultivate a diversity of life and culture: plants that grow specially low to the ground, in order not to be disturbed by the wind; and people who grow wiser, adapting their lives, languages and customs to the landscape.
Mountains have long been held in human esteem, as the abodes of great deities. Look only to those mountains of myths: Mt. Olympus, Everest, Machu Picchu, and Helgafell, and you will find the great gods.

ON THE WISDOM OF MOUNTAINS


An ancient Sumerian legend names Ninhursag, 'Lady of the Sacred Mountain,' as the divine mother goddess. 

. . .

Oldest, born of rock, she birthed into this world the plants and the people. And when her escort, the God Enki, became sick from his overconsumption, she took him in, healing him and bringing health back to the world.

. . .

I cannot help but see the parallels between this 5000 year old myth, and our own contemporary predicaments. The mountain goddess teaches us to care for others, to heal all things.

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Roots to the core of the planet,
Tops touching the outer reaches of the atmosphere,
the mountain body is like to our own - 

grounded yet lofty. Careful observation reveals our interconnected natures.

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From the tops of mountains,
we may gain some greater perspective.

. . . 


Laid out before us is the land below - all things happening there without our presence - the world goes on and on. Our problems shrink in the ever-distance. We see change along the horizon.

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The mountain knows Time inside and out.
She was there when the plates moved to make her.
She will be there till the rains erode her.

. . .


She knows the secrets of the June flowers,
and of the fox that passes,
and the climber who stands for a moment,
surveying an impassible ridge,
and the thoughts of beetles...
Long years, passing moments.

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 The view of the Rocky Mountains from Mount Elbert, Colorado.
 Made it to the top of the mountain!
 Lakes in the valley, Colorado.
 

...small wonders to be found on mount Elbert...
14,440 feet above the sea

A treeless land of hillocks.
Blasting wind, then silence.
Chirruping insects in the low grass.
Alpine buttercups.
A sense of great achievement.
The silence of my body,
shutting down every facet of thought and function
till all that is remains
are the essentials:
legs, heart, breath, blood.
Being thankful for my lungs, and for the air that I breath.
 
 Alpine buttercups waving in the wind.
 Oliver on Mount Elbert.
 Alpine sunflowers and blue skies in the Rockies, Colorado.
 Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
 The steep slope of Mount Elbert.
 Resting at the top of Mount Elbert.
 Dog riding on a ladie's backpack.
 Small green lake in the mountains.
 Alpine sunflowers on Mount Elbert.
 The view from the top of Mount Elbert, Colorado.

For over 1,000 years we Tibetans have adhered to spiritual and environmental values in order to maintain the delicate balance of life across the high plateau on which we live.

In these stores of natural treasure, our doctors found many of the precious herbs and plants from which they compounded their medicines, while nomads found rich pasture for their animals, so crucial to the Tibetan economy. But of even wider-ranging impact, the Land of Snow’s mountains arc; the source of many of Asia’s great rivers.

Only hermits, wild animals, and, in the summer, nomads and their herds actually live high amongst them. But in the simplicity and quiet of our mountains, there is more peace of mind than in most cities of the world. Since the practice of Buddhism involves seeing phenomena as empty of inherent existence, it is helpful for a mediator to be able to look into the vast, empty space seen from a mountain - top.
— H. H. THE DALAI LAMA - ESSAY ON MOUNTAINS, 1992