Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cima Aeterna

Project HaMo (translation): a young mountaineer's fantasy

Thousands of nights, I’ve slept long and dreamlessly, slipping into nothingness one evening to be abruptly hurled back, next morning, into everyday life.

Now and then, though, rarely and unexpectedly, I have strayed off the path of dreamless sleep and, instead of sinking into blind oblivion, find myself regaled by a scene set as if for divinities.

Lhotse at sunset
Photo by courtesy of Alpine Light & Structure

Rapt with joy have I then beheld the Queen of Mountains, a dreamlike summit, her golden evening glow veiled by light, feathery clouds. This vision, I sensed, was reserved for my eyes alone. And with that soaring spur on the mountain’s edge, shrouded in icy mist – a god-like line for climbers – she kisses the messengers of distant stars.

Floating there, the Queen of Mountains rests on walls of chthonic rock, on the granite foundations of the world. From the depths of my dream, she soars up to the heavens. For thousands of metres, she soars straight upwards, unblemished by snow, into a summit of shimmering ice. Her feet are washed in the silvery flow of glacier streams, frozen waves that silently rush forward, and still more silently, towards the depths and my Tartarus below.

Then yearns my innermost being for the highest one, to fly up to the Cima Aeterna, all earthly sorrows cast away, light and free as desire itself.


This is an excerpt from a centennial translation of Ihr Berge (1916), a mountain memoir by Hans "Hamo" Morgenthaler (1890-1928). Translation (c) Project Hyakumeizan.

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