Passages - Chapter 2 | Monte Pissis, Argentina: High Winds from Tartarus

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This part of the Andes is full of extraordinary facts, salars, shallow lakes, exquisite birds and animals, lofty, majestic mountains, high winds, shrieking storms--eloquent truths speaking to a climber a clear and distinct language. Everything is quiet now, composed. Still, it's a surety of the cruel laws of Nature that Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle at the subatomic level is certainly true at the atomic, and anything untoward may happen at any second. So I remain wary. I know that one's light burns brightest just before it goes dark.

How might I have anticipated it, that one blow to unhinge Blue and me from the mountain? The truth is, there was no warning, what with the unremitting punches pounding our home. And all the while, out there in the inky depths a thousand miles to the south, one mighty Tartarean blow is sweeping across the obliging land, nothing to break its building force and speed as it rushes towards my tiny home. On it comes, like a 4000 hp GE Dash 8 diesel locomotive pulling a 200-car freight galloping across the great Mojave Desert rails seeking California ports to the west, gaining speed with every stride, until it smashes head on into our trembling abode with the crushing weight of half the South American continent as its cargo.

I am not afraid. I know this because I am certain not to see another sunrise, and this bestows a measure of stoic calm.

Our world is a vast manuscript, and those who do not travel read but a sheet.