Eyes so bright with infectious blue – a pool of art not in the form of the naked transparency staring through the revealing, flirtatious face of pure glass, but the kind of translucence that shot through the beaming arm of a torch; but this creature’s gaze, this soul of light casting little sapphire rosettes of reflections on everything it touched, wasn’t as unwelcome and intrusive as a torch’s glare – it was as gentle and as fleeting as the autumn wind caressing the soft, cleft cheek; as profound as those stiletto-headed peaks which enveloped the creature in a confetti of falling white.
The creature lived a life of obsessive secrecy beneath those pregnant grey clouds, around the deep gorges lacerated by thick tongues of ice, those great killers which reduced hard rock and solid earth to bitter residue; imperialistic armies obsessed with slithering down freezing valleys, crushing and overwhelming everything that stood in their way. These soldiers of the mountains were glaciers; great slabs of creaking, groaning ice that were artists in their own right. They created a networked series of highways in a mass of vertically inclined rock man claimed to have dominated. Man thought that by planting a flag on the pinnacle of the mountains, he’d somehow conquered them, when it all honesty, man could only be a guest in this stark, cold and perpetually jagged world.
Humans were unable to accept that this world was indomitable. Unable to accept the monstrous balls of white powder gushing down ravaged slopes on a constant basis, unable to comprehend the true callousness of the endless, snarling spires of peaks clawing to the skies, their external edifices coated in a glistening white which camouflaged their unfeeling, granite-black bodies moulded from the very recesses of the earth’s core; a womb that was no less tumultuous than the offspring it thrust into the dry air above. Similar to a child with a sprawl of toys dispersed before him, man thought this world was a playground; he thought he could skirt through snaking forms of rivers writing scars across the land beleaguered in canine-tooth roofs, through the endless curtain of falling snowflakes, through the thin, arid air that yearned for the tangible power to asphyxiate those that didn't belong.
This wasn't the world where the radiant raindrops couched in cool flowers, where the latter swayed through sunny hours, dreaming of the moths that drank them under the sheen of a billion stars.This was the world where the rain solidified shortly before hitting the ground--where snow and ice were the endless carpet of an endless season, where rocky cliff buffs glared down into chasms that nurtured drops of a thousand feet; the abrupt intersections of an environment that neither cared nor bothered with human convenience.
Only the human natives of this land, crouched miles below the mercy of peaks like Everest, K2 and their dominants sisters, were aware of man’s limitations. On the eve of cultural celebrations, they dispatched a screaming squad of fireworks, lighting up the black night with bouquets of multi-coloured showers. Far higher than the echoing crackle of explosions, far higher than the artificial components that had been created to appease the vanity of human entertainment, lay the snow leopard; the clandestine goddess of the Himalayas, the elusive apex predator of the slopes, the white furred creature littered with tiny black rosettes that deceptively melted into the environment, the mythical spirit that kissed and caressed the imagination.
The snow leopard.
The true phantom and conqueror of the Himalayas.