Dangerous and Alluring Places

In Antarctica, people have referred to this iced-up continent as a mistress … a jealous, unforgiving woman, who doesn’t always give up her men.  Instead, the Antarctic Woman will simply keep them.  Fortunately, not all men; fortunately not most men; but truly, some men.

English: The existing South Pole dome as seen ...

Amundsen from Norway came to the Antarctic, made it to the South Pole, and the Woman allowed him and his team to leave.   But Scott, from Britain, came to the Antarctic, also made it to the South Pole, and the Woman kept him, and a number of his team.  There is a field camp, known as Willy Field, on the Ross Ice Shelf, where an ice runway was used for C-130’s to land.

English: Ross Ice Shelf, 1997 The Ross Ice She...

At this time, I don’t know if the ice runway is still there, or not.  Willy Field is named after a guy with the last name Williams, who was running some heavy equipment when the ice

English: Hercules LC-130 at the sea ice runway...broke, and Williams fell through into the watery depths where the krill live, along with other creatures.

Thus, Willy Field. Why  are we drawn to

dangerous places?  Why the unexplanable intimacy?

Next to Antarctica, my next dangerous and alluring category would be … mountains.  One of the most famous quotes about mountains is from George Leigh Mallory:

“Going to the mountains is going home” 

 I just want to say a few words about the mountains, as I am running out of time / space.  Everyone knows that the mountains are not necessarily safe.

Let’s cut to the chase with some basic information: Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is 8848 meters / 29,029 feet … In 2012, 06 people died on Everest … In 1996 19 people died, and Jon Krakauer states that it was the deadliest year so far …

Mount Everest north face from Ronguk monastery...

And at this time, approximately 200 people have died on Everest, up to this point.  A great link … http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/21/mount-everest-by-the-numbers-deaths-cost-to-climb-more-mountain-records.html

 I suppose a good wrap-up is pointing out that the tallest mountain is not necessarily the deadliest.  Here are five mountains considered more deadly than Everest:
 Kangchenjunga … India
K2 …. Between China and Pakistan
Annapurna …. Central Nepal
Naga Parbat … Kashmir
The Eiger … Switzerland
Admittedly, I am not sure why all this resonates with me.  I think it is somewhat complex.  The quote from Braveheart, “All men die, but few men live …” plays into this.  Freedom is paramount, as opposed to submitting to the machine, knowing we will go to the grave asking ourselves “Did we really live?  I mean REALLY … live?”
I guess I’m dealing with these issues now, in my older age.  I have been through so much craziness, and I know that I am an extremely fortunate man to be alive … And maybe that is part of it, as well.  If I am still alive, which I am (by God’s grace & mercy), then WHY?  What is that big purpose … somewhere here, or somewhere out there?    I want to live, and I want to live well, with adventure and passion and meaning … but I don’t want to live sitting in a comfortable chair in a place called “Mediocrity” … If anyone can make heads or tales of this, give me some wisdom.   Well, keep climbing, people.  But stay out of Antarctica, unless you are truly called.
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