Sunday, September 18, 2011

lumbering up a slope

... I climbed toward the rock without resting, and when I finally got there I picked another landmark and started all over again.

I climbed that way for hours, focusing my attention completely on some target- a rock, a shadow, an unusual ruffle in the snow- until the distance to that target became all that mattered in the world.  The only sounds were my own heavy breathing and the rhythmic crunch of my shoes in the snow.  My pace would soon become automatic, and I slipped into a trance.  Somewhere in my mind I still longed for my father, I still suffered from fatigue, I still worried that our mission was doomed, but now those thoughts seemed muted and secondary, like a voice on a radio playing in another room.  Step-push, step-push.  Nothing else mattered.  Sometimes I promised myself I'd rest when the next goal was reached, but I never kept my promise.  Time melted away, distanced dwindled, the snow seemed to glide beneath my feet.  I was a locomotive lumbering up the slope.  I was lunacy in slow motion....

- Nando Parrado