Saturday, April 14, 2007

++Dusk to dawn at near 5000 meters altitude amidst alpine meadows ++

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The hike has taken all my strength and I feel overcome by exhaustion. I relax while in the kitchen the grandfather is preparing dinner. An old man of nearly 80 years, his leather tanned face radiates much warmth and kindness. He is genuinely proud to have a foreigner as guest at his home.

His wife is herding Yaks still further up the mountain, a 3 hours walk from where his house stands, barely noticable from here.

I notice in spite of the warm jacket I am wearing my body starts to shiver, and decide to draw the warm blanket up to my chin. I sense the deep exhaustion now overcoming me.

With every minute the shadows are getting longer now , my friends calling me to watch the spectacle that follows. Sparrows give their last  concert, the Eagles have long disappeared; the whole area is shrouded in twilight, a breath taking scenery.

My companions have tended to the horse and other animals on the farm. We stand on the porch overlooking the whole mountain range , a truly magnificent view. One forgets time here, a soul searching contest with oneself has begun. And here time has stood still, no materialistic goals, no work related stress, no human misdemeanor, no misunderstanding, no crime, just pure, basic human values. One can not but feel comfort in such environment.

Dinner is ready,  chinese cabbage, the "xiao bai cai", steamed round rice, chicken with vegetables. An excellent meal, the old man proofs his cooking skills. After dinner we converse, many questions are asked about my home and what it was like.

Mountain folks retire early and for a good reason: they must be fit in early morning. We take a stroll in the now dark surroundings and shoot some photos in the dark. Everyone senses the tranquility that has engulfed the mountains by now. A real heaven under the sky. Then the house falls silent, no sound is heard.

I dream of a friend who has passed away, noticing I can converse with him freely here. On frequent occasions did I have such experiences, in serene and calm surroundings in Africa, Asia and Europe. How I wish I could have shown this heaven to those who needed it most. Yet, it is not for everyone to reach such divine places. As one friend put it : "You are blessed to be able to discover this jewel ". One can believe or not, reality speaks for itself.

And the night embraces us amidst a divine calm, with the stars as our guardians..

Next : The day break and descent ...

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