The Bergschrund5 min read
The Bergschrund is the crevasse separating the horizontal of the glacier and the vertical of the mountain. It is the void left after the glacier detaches from the stagnant, loyal to the mountain ice left above.
I gaze upon the void that separates the world into two distinct spaces. Down – where when I slip, I fall on my back. And up – where I fall to fly.
Sometimes I cross the bergschrund, other times I hide inside. I hide from the teeth looking to tear my flesh apart. From the wind mastering the art of blowing my mind, hopes and focus away, leaving me stripped out of meaning.
The first time I stood in front of a bergschrund I did not hide in it. Instead, I fell right into its trap. It was painful and cold. But I came out of it stronger and better acclimatised to what would become a life of a substantial gains and losses, both vertical and horizontal.
It has been a quarter of a century approach. From the moment I made my first step to the day I crossed the border of the bergschrund. An almost illegal approach to a world unknown and mysterious. One that will open the gates to a life of extremes. What would follow is extremes not only in the form of adrenaline-pumping experiences, but also of tormenting concepts and perceptions, of moods and beliefs. Extremes of love and hate.
Just like at any regular border, at the bergschrund one pays a tax. But unlike any other tax, on the border between the horizontal and the vertical, one owes that which is intangible. It is what economists call the opportunity cost. Upon entering the world of vertical wonders, I deny myself time spend with my feet well-grounded. How else would I have spent all those hours, days, weekends and months? Would it have been in a better, more fulfilling and productive way? Does it even matter? Sometimes I wonder whether we have a choice, or once we reach that border, we are inevitably drawn by an anti-gravitational force and choice becomes an illusion.
By crossing a border, we often enter a new world with a different culture. On the other side of the bergschrund, the glacier equipment is no longer enough. The vertical speaks another language and requires other skills.
Over the last five years, I had to learn how to twist like a superman and change appearance, so I could cross the border and fit the setting. But the real challenge was to change my mind and perception. And doing so, by keeping my sanity, turned into a daily battle.
Torn between worlds, with a heart big enough to love both, I would hide on the border inside the bergschrund where the illusion of balance created space for my soul.
Point of view
The views from high up are stunning. The layers of wavelike clouds sway above the world in magic. What else could one possibly need? I think of the busy dots, entangled in illusions of happiness bought on sale and with an expired date. I take the rubber and erase my dot from the weblike network. No longer part of it, I follow the natural laws of physics and adopt the strange behaviour of particles—I become unpredictable. I appear up and down; here, there and everywhere.
The vertical strips the need for promises wrapped in ribbons. It declutters life of all that is but essential – a broomstick dusting off the burden of both heart and mind.
The worth of words
Every climb adds to a 360-degree view. It unwinds the mind. With the rising elevation, the meaning of words changes. And so does their weight. The higher I go, the heavier it gets. I learn how to meticulously choose my words, in case they become too heavy to carry.
Lighthearted with my head up in the clouds, I know I will have to go back down. They say staying for too long up high was neither good for the body, nor for the mind. Every now and then, one has to be grounded.
As I cross the bergschrund, hop back on the glacier and go down to the flatlands, I listen. I listen to all the worthless noise. The desire to engage in conversations has frozen.
Why all that buzz?
So many words rumble out of people’s mouths, yet so little is said. Bound to the habit, or an overwhelming need to bond, we flood our lives with needless talk. And so I seal my lips and close the doors to all the messengers.
My head feels the warm waves of blood flowing in.
The mind becomes the emergency room, trying to save the body. An injection of the proper perception will save me, but which one?
The flesh is bound to the ground; the soul and mind are vertical and fly.
Saving one means killing the other. Or does it? How could one live in peace with the burden of killing parts of his present, past or future?
I am left to my void of confusion in between the loyal to the vertical self and the one, detaching like a glacier from it.