I read once that Bhutan–where Shangri-la was thought to be located–is one of the last areas on earth still untouched, pristine in all its vistas; it is called a place where nature and people live in harmony. Untainted flora and unhunted fauna live among humans in a symbiosis unheard of in the developed world. The beauty there astounds all who see it. I fancied myself a monk, finding my peace and place in life hung in the air between God and the canyon floor; this would be my monastery, my quiet place. I felt small–compared to the earth. Not the bad kind of small, but rather the uncomfortable cleansing terror of something bigger. This was something good. If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, you know what I mean. Any adventuresome thought of seeking Satan in Hells Canyon was erased immediately. God stood here among the humans, and His land remained defiant of any names they might impose.
Our guide told us this place was called Suicide Cliff, a name I’ve heard given to countless high rock formations. She said two lovers climbed up here to end it all because they loved each other and their feuding families didn’t like that. I put my own spin on it. I imagined them climbing up here, looking over the horizonless jagged grace before them and changing their minds. Filled with hope, they resolutely climbed out of the canyon, higher up until they had to go down again, running away to an exquisite existence. Passing cows all the way. Continue reading Hiking on the mountain