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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Payson Stevens



(Del Mar, California)

October 2000, Jiwanal-Parvati Trek:
This trek was one of the peak Nature experiences of my life (along with trekking in Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and the Nepal Himalaya). GHNP is a gift from the people of India to the people of the world. It is a tangible symbol of their effort to protect a dwindling and unique environment for posterity.

One moves through many zones of the forest: from lush lowlands up into the arid and cold higher elevations. Nature is constantly changing and reminding you of how life adapts at so many levels. The trek, at times, is very strenuous. If you're going to do this one, make sure you work out for two months in advance to get in shape. Your breath and stamina must be strong. Trekking Phanchi Galu is hard work but the rewards and visions will become part of your great life memories. I could continue with superlatives but perhaps this poem, written as we ascended through the Phanchi Galu Pass (4636 meters), will provide another kind of impression.

Phanchi Galu Pass

let the cold pure wind
empty my lungs
of my current life
here under the silhouette
crags and stars.
freeze my past
and leave it behind
as one ice crystal
on the alpine grass.

let the air currents
empty my mind
as I balance each step
for i have dreamt of the
snow leopard
beckoning me onward
to the place i've studied
and now visit;
no more symbols,
no more science,
almost no more art.
silence.

let the wind stop
so I can collect my thoughts.
let the wind start
so I can let them go,
last words taken on thermals.

let the mountain devtas*
take my breath
transform my thought
into energy;
here at the high pass
I offer my life
to the wind.

*gods
Copyright 2000, Payson R. Stevens

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