Post für den Schneeleoparden
- Posted by Alice Rombach
- On 5. May 2021
The wind tugs at the tent. It whizzes around us. Sweeping through the Karakoram valley in the Himalayan mountains. For days we have been almost exclusively in this tiny plastic cocoon, reading, sleeping, writing, eating, playing. Outside, endless white, endless expanse, crevasses hidden in the whiteout and steep mountain sides. We are trapped in a weather and wait for a window. In this uniformity. It's a bit like hibernation. And yet in it never losing the tireless relaxed alertness, even when things seem to be unravelling.
I remember this in the spring of 2020. In this Corona crisis, at the beginning it was above all acceptance. Even the recognition of a situation in life and society that we could actually be relatively sure would be temporary, despite the shock. The previous epoch is over, when in our latitudes we believed we had absolute control over our actions. With the knowledge that this phase had been rather the unusual part in human history.
I do not believe in coincidences. It is remarkable that, of all things, the largest modern polar expedition Mosaic started in September 2019 from the Norwegian city of Tromso with the aim of freezing itself in the ice for a year. During this time, they planned to move only with the drift of the pack ice and gather data for Arctic climate research. Like when Fridtjof Nansen and his crew set out in 1893 to reach the North Pole to prove that there is a transpolar ice drift and to see if there is unknown land hidden there. And while today's researchers set sail on the Polarstern towards the North Pole to be frozen, a few months later it also seems to me that we are all a little frozen in the no longer eternal ice.
The outside becomes less and less important in these times, sometimes disappearing altogether. There are hardly any external stimuli that require reactions. Hardly any resonance outside oneself, we become our own space. Enough experiences have been made, impulses have been received and inspirations have been collected to allow inner worlds to emerge from many thousands of images.
Through frequent exposure to the weather, being cut off somewhere, equanimity has arisen. Equanimity is not being indifferent, on the contrary - equanimity as perseverance, persistence and composure to act decisively at the right time . These thoughts and feelings are immediately called up in me and come directly from one of the tents or huts or elsewhere on the way. The silence, the white noise and then again the own swelling volume. And always, from the very beginning, the sense of a deeply irrefutable certainty that this too shall pass. Like everything else. And that, too, is the only certainty there is. Outside, blossoming trees with rosy white flowers.
In Finland, where I lived during my studies, I often experienced sisu. This deep-rooted cultural concept, Sisu, is as down-to-earth as it is mystical, like many of the people who live there, and is derived from inward or within. It stands for an attitude of bravery, resilience, willpower, determination, endurance and above all resilience in the face of challenges. Be it in the middle of the forest at night when it is very cold, having the unshakeable confidence to fight through until a light appears and a warming hut appears. Being able to endure dry spells, not losing perseverance as an entrepreneur or initiator of a committed project, and constantly believing that it will work and make an impact in the long run. In the background, calm and deep green, the spruce forests, the fine smell of the fresh coniferous forest in my nose.
The wave stretches across the entire continent, across the entire earth. From turbo operation to the highest level of deceleration. Systems wedged into each other, held stable only by acceleration. This will not have been the last crisis, at some point. It is difficult to imagine what will happen afterwards. At the moment we are in a time vacuum.
We have often thought that the world would change. In fact, it has been changing ever since it came into existence. Do we mean a caesura? A collective experiencing and remembering, a shaking of our structures, a threat to our bodies that seems both real and unreal?
When 9/11 happened, I was in Hanoi, Vietnam. Unimaginable scenes of CNN and BBC on big TV screens in the foyers of hostels or restaurants, disbelieving consternation and the odd barely visible mischievous hint of a smile from locals on the streets.
At four in the morning, we had staggered out of buses into the bitterly cold night, in a tiny town on the edge of the salt desert between Bolivia and Chile, and were sitting in groups spread out in a dimly lit anteroom of a hostel. When we had received the wifi code, the smartphones were taken out, charged at the socket, and all at once a commotion spread that swelled more and more. Snatches of sentences in different languages, shocked pairs of eyes looked aimlessly around the room and met. It was the morning after the Brexit vote.
I was driving a wine-red, ancient Jeep, a Ford Explorer, which I had just borrowed for a few days, which was absolutely subterranean in terms of climate, but which I loved very much. Probably one of the most quintessentially US cars and certainly a favourite to drive in the so-called fly-over states. When I heard the news on the radio who had become President of the United States instead of Hillary Clinton.
And then the financial crisis... All these times something happened that was previously thought unimaginable. Each time, our inner limit of the imaginable was again violently shaken and shifted.
While we are still busy overcoming the consequences of the injuries from the last crisis, moreover, the next crisis breaks over us like a big wave. And yet, in every crisis we have the feeling that it is unique. And has nothing to do with the previous one.
Is there even room to think something beyond that? In the void, the shock, the stopping of time, the force of the blow - the potential that every crisis holds, or are we completely overwhelmed by the dimensions of the imagination if we were to really allow this thought?
Return to what normality? There is no return. Just as little as the normality that many call for is actually normal. Nevertheless, it reproduces familiar structures and structures of order and possibilities of consumption for which there is a great longing because it conveys trust. Even in the moments when it has drastically shown us that this trust is complete illusion and insanity. Oh, how we all want to be enchanted again.
The time horizon, our immediate present, is unpredictable, a few weeks or even months. Is this our idea of the future?
In case of doubt, I send this post into the future. For what comes after. Forever post for the snow leopard.