With the support of my ice-axe I had been cautiously descending a zig-zag trail of boot marks already kicked into the face. But snow blown by the rising wind was rapidly covering these shallow steps, vanishing my trail. The danger level contrasted sharply with any reality I’d ever known, and took my breath away. Or perhaps it was the jaw-dropping view. And that was without glancing at the giant seracs, or ice blocks, teetering far above my head.
Why do mountaineers leave the safety of the valleys, for the rarefied heights above? Partly for the views, of course. And partly for the timeless sense of serenity this rarefied, pristine world can bring, with its mind-altering perspective on the problems and pressures of the world below, and of the true value of loved ones and home.
But most of all, such heights can be reached only by plumbing rarely-tapped reserves of stamina, determination, and sometimes even courage.
For a time, at least, the mountains demand nothing less than our best. And at the end of our lives, it’s not how long, but how well we’ve lived, that is the measure of their worth.
Life is a gift. How can we best use the time we’ve been given? We all have our own answers. I was once an Australian human rights activist, concerned with increasing our foreign aid budget, the international campaign to ban landmines, and victims of torture. I still support humanitarian causes, but switched my primary focus to animal welfare issues, when I realised that the numbers of animals harmed by our actions is unfortunately millions of times greater. Here, you will find some of my work. Please consider sharing any you feel is worthwhile.
We are all fellow travellers, charting a course through the mysterious tides of time and fate. Which pathway will you choose? Something conventional, or a pathway less trodden? Whatever you do, make the most of the time you’ve been given. Work hard, and travel far. But also take the time to celebrate being alive …