Readers Blog

Alone Time

Posted on: June 30, 2008

There are some things better left unsaid until you have the privacy to strike up a conversation with yourself, that is, if you’re inclined to open lines of communication with yourself. More and more I find (alarming) this the case, and often (more alarming) I do so while unclothed in front of a full length mirror (I can’t over emphasize the import of the mirror showing everything from the tops of my feet (pale and thick with veins, aren’t yours? Of coarse they are.) to the top of my scalp).

If I am to make any pretense of honesty here (tedious and annoying to do so, I know, but I must assume that here I am among friends). I must tell you that by profession I am an alpine guide, and that (of late) I discuss only one thing with myself in the mirror. Before I tell you what that is, I must ask you one favor (I can’t really ask you, but I must try).

Don’t ever trust a rope. I know you have, hell, I have too. But never trust it again. It will lie with its coils. It is bold and audacious, but so are the best liars (more on this later).

The mirror only wants to hear about steep ice, but that’s not all we talk about. Long snow slopes with exposure also, from time to time, dance into the topic of conversation, and sometimes avalanche. Oh yes, and you can’t lie to the mirror, it winks back, and afterward I blush.

Oh, but I know, I’ve missed the point, haven’t I?

I’m glad you caught me at it, I will pay mind not wander again. The rope was frozen above and wouldn’t budge, sometimes it happens when you aren’t moving fast enough at night. A wind will come and freeze it right through into place, oh, and that is a such a shame that we didn’t rappel just a little faster.

“I’m cold” My fingers said.

“I’m cold” My toes said

“I’m cold” My partners said.

“I know.” Was all I could say.

Snow drifted down from the sky, it was watching us lazily, I think, with a thousand eyes.

Part of me is still there. Still on that ledge, waiting for the storm to pass. I’ve tried to look for it in the mirror, but I can’t find it.

I want to say one thing more, though. I lied up above. I am a former guide.