This is not a cliché.

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04
Thursday
04 June 2020

Mountain fragments

Ilustration by Séverine Dietrich

Massimo Cacciari is a friend of our hotel and visits us whenever he can. We asked him to send us some of his thoughts about mountains and you can read them here in our diary. Giulan, and happy birthday, professor.

Mountains as parks.
Mountains can never be reduced to ‘park-museums’, a fate which relentlessly crashes upon cities in the valleys. Mountains, on the other hand, always have an open doorway to the top. Some people insist on reducing them to ‘nature parks’, forgetting how mountains are nothing other than pure nature, and will always transcend the limits of ‘parks’. Nature means blooming, growing, creating in an unplanned, free way. Nature embodies both the past and future – a ‘park’ is a state of how things are, mountains embody how things will be.

Mountains as ascents.
What goes up must come down, but mountains are all about ascents. Descents force you to watch every step, gaze lowered – now, ascents on the other hand change you: your breathing gradually gets used to the effort and you can lift your gaze into the sky, beyond the reaches of your human body.

Mountains as purification.
Forget the notion of a mountain conceived by certain ancient wise men – hermits who upon reaching the summit looked down upon us poor, wretched mortals. Mountains loathe such arrogance. By ascending, people carry those efforts and travails. They do not abandon them, do not forget them – they purify them and arm themselves to face them with even greater courage.

Mountains as friendship.
My friendship with Michil resembles a mountain – even though now it has enriched itself with a pocket of Val d’Orcia. What does this mean? Our friendship could last even if we were to never see each other – just like nearby, no, mountains that are glued to each other like the Dolomites, never losing sight of their own identity, their own traits, and legends. A friendship which is a bedrock of modesty, sobriety, esteem, mutual respect, and even silence. A silence which bolsters your spirit as the ascent becomes steeper and the mountain gets ready to welcome you.