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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Monday Mottoes – #191

Everest2The headlines over the weekend said it all: “At Least 3 Climbers Dead, 1 Missing After Tragic Weekend On Mount Everest”. These were smart people, educated people, athletic people. Why risk it all to say you had conquered a particular summit such as Everest?

Personally, I don’t get it. I guess my life is extreme enough. I don’t need extreme sports, extreme pizza, extreme supplements, extreme sudoku… perhaps extreme couponing sounds intriguing, where one can buy over $1,000 worth of groceries for under $5… but still… that’s a full-time job and who needs 500 toothbrushes or bags of candy???

Then again, one would complement the other.

My inability to understand the allure of on-purpose uber-dangerous adventures led me to do some research. I mean, I’ve been on plenty of not-on-purpose tight spots in my own life. However, aiming to scare your pants off is a whole other ball game, in my opinion.

Which leads us to two quotes for today:

“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, mt-everestand a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.” ~ Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit

“I thought climbing the Devil’s Thumb would fix all that was wrong with my life. In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams.” ~Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

It’s a spiritual quest. That’s it. I get it. Something is missing in our automated life. We need something, Someone greater, bigger, who will put it all in perspective.

thI know Who that is, but not everyone does. In the meantime, the mountain, and sometimes death, awaits.

The upper reaches of mountains are called the “death zone”. That’s an altitude above 8,000 meters or 26,000 feet, where sufficient oxygen does not exist, where the body or mind starts to shut down and where unwise decisions made under stress lead to accidents. Not everyone needs a mountain to result in body or mind breakdowns.

What a shame, that those in their prime were cut down, not while fighting a “just war”, not while caring for the elderly or the orphans, not while rescuing someone in need. Spiritual challenges exist every day all around us. They give worth and meaning to dying and probably more importantly, to living. Nothing wrong with extreme sports or mountain climbing in general, yet many of the these mountains claim the lives of both novice and expert climbers, in addition to sherpas.

Jesus is here for you, my friend, not only on the top of the mountain’s euphoric summit… but in the valleys… and in the exertion of the climb… and at every incremental camp along the way.

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