I am married to a man who loves to climb mountains. I imagine that thinking about climbing mountains occupies more of my husband’s time and mental capacities than he’d dare admit. I don’t understand why he loves climbing but I think he has his reasons.
Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” I think this is one reason my husband climbs, but there must be many, many more. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mt. Everest, died on Friday. The sherpa that accompanied him, Tenzing Norgay, died many years ago. They both spent their lives giving back to the mountain people of Nepal, using their fame to raise money for roads, schools, etc.
I sometimes accompany my husband in climbing mountains, though I prefer mountains that require little or no technical skill. Even so, there is something to be learned from the ascension. I love this statement from Rene Daumal:
“You cannot stay on the summit forever, you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. On descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”