Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tribute to my knee - Aletsch

Aletsch: 20-21/10/2007
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There comes a time in life when you have to give up, to abandon insensible rushes, to accept aging with its unmovable wisdom and to plan for a safe future. To grow up. Well, this is not that time.

I'm staring somewhat prayerfully at my knee and start to move smoothly, as if trying to persuade my body this has nothing to do with locomotion. Unfortunately the freezing cold prevents any attempt at sleep walking and I'm wide awake when reaching the stones on the way to Bettmerhorn. My knee is even more awaken as any other part of my body, not to mention my mind, and it's very keen on reminding me what an important part it plays in this simple activity called walking. A shiver of respect takes over my senses at the recollection of all unimportant parts of my body sending their confirmation of existence: pain.

One short look behind makes me stop. The look becomes a long,long gaze, so long as if trying to reach the pyramid bursting out of the clouds somewhere at the horizon. I throw the "is this you? is this really you?" gaze that one has when one meets some pen pal for the first time and finds out it is not a woman one was chatting with but a man, or the other way round. However, this one is really it, it just cannot be other but it, Matterhorn. I'm about to change direction, but this is not that time either. So up I go, a bit nervous, the same nervousness you feel when meeting an old long-time-not-seen friend. Will you still know him, is he still a friend, will you feel the same? I'm somehow staggering, do I still know to listen, to find the way, to understand the mountain? Will I recognize it and will the mountain recognize me? Are we still best friends? Some icy snow patches lost among the sharp-edged stones, the cold air and the tail of the dragon, the glacier, are the first to answer my call. It smells like winter. It's the smell of the playful snow, of the hospitable peaks, of the sunny cold. It smells like fun, like passion, like life. And the enthusiasm I'm flooded by is nothing short of the happiness of our rejoining - we did not forget each other. The wind joins the meeting and its enthusiasm is even greater than mine, it plays with my equilibrium such that I need to pay attention not to fly off the rocks:)

This is a good time to get down to the ice highway. I'm proud that my eagle eyes allow me to see the hut where I intend to sleep, on the other side of the glacier. Everything is volatile, and so is my pride when I fail to see the map 5 meters in front of me and I descend following a valley that ends on a hill top, 50 meters above the gorge. This way, no way. I climb back to and through the Aletschwald, a yellow and relaxing forest where the wind is milder. I start to get down on something that long time ago could have been called a path, and I enjoy the pleasant, steep and quick descent. There's a sign "Kein Durchgang". No kidding? I'm not about to give up now and so I find out why the population of Europe is slowly but steadily decreasing, especially the non-German speaking part. Ok, good work but the glacier is not receiving any visitors today, which is why I have to climb back to the marked path. The descent is still pleasant, steep and quick, unfortunately I'm going in the opposite direction:) It's quite late and I'm still getting better and better acquainted with different descents to the glacier. A last try brings me next to the white teeth and I suddenly remember that a well-behaved visitor remembers to come visit and also remembers to leave. So, I've come, I've greeted and now I leave. I'm successful in shocking the black goats(again) by being on their territory at such a late hour. I reach Bettmeralp together with the dark.

By the civilized alpine standards, I should look for accommodation, dine in a restaurant, take a shower and sleep in brightly white sheets. The next day I should greet the mountain with my freshly white detergent smile and my "I'm so clean&pure&fancy" odor.
There comes a time in life when you have to compromise, to accept the rules and to self-censure your freedom. To conform.Well, this is not that time either.
I find a balcony where the night is not windy, I eat my dinner from my rucksack, I put several layers of clothes on and get into my sleeping bag. Feels like home. The next day I greet the mountain with my natural human stink and, to the total amazement of the civilized alpine standard people, the mountain greets me back with a smile(though it might as well be a grin:)), and even the black goats look at me in recognition. My knee decides it's high time to pay the prima donna role, so I'm learning a bit of applied anatomy - it's definitely an interesting, though not nice, experience to negotiate the path with your knee.

There comes a time in life when you get tired of being different, when you realize that "all in all it's just another brick in the wall". A time when all proclamations of independence are only fun-readings. Well, this is not that time.
I enjoy the sunrise that's sneaking through the peaks and I feel good surrounded by pastures, rocks and snowy horizons. I feel good here because of nature's charm, I would feel just as good about this mystical beauty were I in some remote Romanian village, where the sun rises just like it does here, and maybe I would get a cup of fresh warm milk as bonus:) The wild peaks show themselves without shyness nor fear for the sun, wearing a shawl of thin clouds around them. The silence of stony ice says so much, in an universal language that leaves no room for misinterpretations, and it speaks up its opinion on all of us, honestly and boldly, and on what we mean to it(that's right, the answer is 'nothing':)) The untouchable heights don't answer to anybody's questioning, they don't give interviews, don't accept evaluations and verifications - they exist without explanations, without excuses, just as they are. I am what I am - nothing more and nothing less. I join the mountain in its proclamation of independence for some hours and I go over the conversations with the housing agency, the foreigners office, the work permit official, the landlord (am I really a serial killer? I almost wonder myself - more of these disscussions and they're going to convince me:)). In this rehearsal, my opinions are freely spoken and the Eiger, the Jungfrau and some other old and wise friends are on my side(my right side as I hike to the Marjelensee) and I feel strong, honest and very generous with my epithets. This overconfidence stays with me while I'm waiting in the parking place to go back to Lugano, dancing Zorba the greek as a remedy for the dark cold only disturbed by the bells of the church - the only sound which does not smell of suspicion in this country - and wondering where is the benefit of the doubt, the premise of innocence? I can't wait to state my proclamation of independence, I can't wait to speak up my opinion on the system, the rules and the over-civilization. I can't wait to declare my nonconformism and my alienation from the layers of hypocrisy. I get into the car just as decided.

"Where have you slept?"

"In a hotel."

..... welcome to the first level of hypocrisy. Welcome to Switzerland.

Tribut genunchiului meu - Aletsch

Aletsch: 20-21/10/2007
Photo gallery

Sunt momente in viata cand trebuie sa renunti, sa pui deoparte avanturile irationale, sa accepti anii cu intelepciunea lor statica si sa chibzuiesti la siguranta viitorului. Sa te potolesti. Ei bine, momentul asta n-a sosit inca.

Privesc cu speranta si teama la genunchi si pornesc usor, parca incercand sa-mi conving corpul cum ca nu exercita nici o miscare locomotorie. Pacat ca frigul taios face imposibila orice tentativa de somnambulism si sunt destul de treaza la contactul cu lespezile aruncate pe cararea spre Bettmerhorn. Si genunchiul meu e treaz si tine sa-mi aminteasca ce rol important joaca in aceasta chestie simpla pe care o iei de buna si anume mersul. Parca un nou val de respect ma copleseste amintindu-mi de parti anatomice neimportante de care esti constient doar cand fac nazuri.

O scurta privire in spate ma face sa ma opresc. Privirea devine lunga, lunga, sa ajunga pana la piramida infipta in nori undeva in zare. Ma uit cu privirea "tu esti? esti chiar tu?" pe care o ai cand intalnesti pe cineva pe care il cunosti din poze, si hotarasc ca numai el poate fi si nimeni altul, Matterhornul. Mai ca-mi vine sa schimb directia, dar nici momentul asta n-a sosit inca:) De data asta ii intorc spatele si, spre creasta. Urc cu emotie, acceasi emotie pe care o simti la intalnirea cu un prieten vechi pe care nu l-ai vazut de mult. Oare o sa-l mai recunosti, oare mai e prieten, oare mai o sa simti la fel? Urc cu pasi stangaci, oare mai stiu sa ascult, sa gasesc calea, sa ma inteleg cu muntele? Mai suntem prieteni? Cateva pete de zapada inghetata ratacite printre bolovani ascutiti, aerul rece si ghetarul ca o coada de balaur sunt primii ce-mi raspund chemarii. Miroase a iarna. Miros de zapada jucausa, de creste primitoare, de frig insorit. Miroase extraordinar. Si entuziasmul care ma cuprinde e pe masura bucuriei regasirii - nu ne-am uitat. Vantul a venit si el la intalnire si e la fel de entuziasmat ca mine - ba chiar se joaca asa entuziasmat cu echilibrul meu incat trebuie sa fiu atenta sa nu zbor de pe stanci.

E timpul sa cobor spre autostrada de gheata. Cu privirea mea de vultur vad undeva pe partea cealalta cabana unde mi-am planificat sa dorm, nu insa si harta 5 metri in fata mea(vulturii sunt cumva specie pe cale de disparitie?), asa ca ma cobor pe-o vale ce se termina brusc cu un zid de stanca la vreo 50 de metri deasupra cheilor. Se pare ca nu pe-aici. Urc pe acelasi traseu prin Aletschwald, o padure galbena si relaxanta pe unde vantul e mai potolit. Incep o coborare pe ce pare ca a fost odata ca niciodata o poteca, ma bucur deoarece coborarea e placuta, foarte abrupta si rapida. Ajung la o alunecare de teren si un semn "Kein Durchgang". Ma lasi? Ca doar n-o sa ma opresc acum. Si uite-asa mi se explica de ce populatia Europei e in continua scadere, in special cei ce nu vorbesc germana. Bun, ghetarul nu arata bucuros de oaspeti asa ca e timpul sa revin pe marcaj, deci inapoi. Coborarea a ramas tot placuta, foarte abrupta si rapida, din pacate eu merg in directie gresita:) E destul de tarziu si eu tot aprofundez coborarile spre ghetar. O ultima incercare ma aduce langa coltii albi, si subit imi amintesc ca "Omul vine, sta oleaca, mai vorbeste, mai si pleaca". Asa ca ii vad, ii salut, si-am plecat. Reusesc din nou sa surprind un copor de capre negre cu prezenta mea tarzie pe teritoriul lor si ajung odata cu noaptea in Bettmeralp, unde deschise sunt doar cateva hoteluri.

Ar trebui sa caut cazare, sa iau cina la restaurant, sa fac un dus si sa dorm in cearceafuri orbitor de albe, astfel ca a 2-a zi sa salut muntele cu parfumul meu proaspat, de Ariel, in ducele stil alpin elvetian.
Sunt momente in viata cand trebuie sa faci compromisuri, sa accepti regulile si sa-ti auto-restrictionezi libertatea. Sa te conformezi. Ei bine, nici momentul asta n-a sosit inca.
Gasesc un balcon protejat de bataia vantului, mananc ceva de prin rucsac, ma infofolesc bine si ma bag in sacul de dormit in care ma simt ca acasa. A 2-a zi dis-de-dimineata salut muntele cu parfumul meu natural de balconar, si spre totala uimire a Arielilor, muntele ma primeste zambind, ba chiar si caprele negre stau oleaca la fluierat cu mine de parca as fi de-a lor. Genunchiul meu considera ca e timpul sa se bage in seama, astfel ca invat anatomie aplicata - e destul de interesant sa negociezi cu genunchiul traseele montane.
Sunt momente in viata cand obosesti sa fii altfel, cand realizezi ca pana la urma urmezi doar un alt tipar. Cand toate declaratiile de independenta sunt doar lecturi optionale. Ei bine, nu e acum momentul.
Ma bucur de rasaritul furisat printre creste si ma simt bine, inconjurata de pasuni,bolovani si zari inzapezite. Ma simt bine aici din cauza farmecului naturii, m-as simti la fel de bine in Cucuietii din Deal, unde soarele rasare tot asa frumos si in plus poate as avea noroc de-o cana de lapte proaspat muls:)Varfurile salbatice din fata mea se dezvaluie fara teama razelui soarelui, imbracate intr-o esarfa de nori subtiri. Tacerea de gheata stancoasa spune atat de multe, intr-un limbaj universal ce nu da loc la interpretari gresite, si ne spune sincer si pe fata tuturor unde ne putem duce din punctul ei de vedere.(da, acolo:)) Intangibilele inaltimi nu raspund la intrebarile nimanui, ele nu dau interviuri, nu accepta evaluari si verificari - doar exista fara explicatii, fara scuze, pur si simplu asa cum sunt. Ma alatur muntelui in declaratia lui de independenta pentru cateva ore si refac mental conversatiile cu agentia imobiliara, oficiul pentru straini unde trebuie sa ma agit pentru permisul de munca, oficiosii graniteri (si daca mai am multe discutii de genul asta chiar o sa ma convinga si pe mine ca sunt criminal in serie:)). Eiger-ul, Jungfrau si alti cativa batrani cu prestanta sunt de partea mea(mai exat pe partea mea dreapta in timp ce merg spre lacul Marjelen) si sunt puternica, sincera si chiar foarte generoasa cu urarile. Ba chiar increderea in mine ma tine si asteptand in parcare sa ma intorc la Lugano, dansand Zorba grecul in frigul noptii tulburat din cand in cand de clopotul bisericii si intrebandu-ma unde e premisa inocentei, increderea in oameni? De-abia astept sa-mi formulez declaratia de independenta, de-abia astept sa-mi spun parerea despre regim, reguli si hiper-civilizatie. De-abia astept sa-mi declar nonconformismul. Urc in masina tot asa de hotarata.

"Unde ai dormit?"

"La hotel."

..... Ce dor mi-e de India, de oameni simpli si nesuspiciosi, de curajul de a fi eu.