MOUNTAINS, HOLIDAYS, AND THE PANDEMIC
I missed mountains. I didn’t see them for two years. So the more I was happy when I finally met the Tatra mountains again. I love these reunions. This place helps me to think deeper, for example about our existence. In the mountains I feel closer to God, and when I climb on the top and admire all the beauty of God’s creation, its power, and my insignificance, I come with the conclusion: who am I, oh God, that you created me.
While struggling with the heights, I observe something else: forming of man’s character, will to fight, testing our limits, our endurance. It is so easy to give up, to say: Enough! But those legs drag me to the top, step by step. And step by step, meters are passing, then kilometers. During that time I ponder over our incredible bodies. Muscles and their power, cell regeneration, and our brain. A masterpiece! Incomparable with any other processor, even the best ones like M1 is just easy-breezy. The whole amount of information needed to be processed while hiking. Where a hand has to grab in order to not fall down, how high a foot has to be raised in order to go upstairs, and how strong muscles have to be strained to get us on foot, how middle ear has to work to keep the balance, and to all of that add the images! Great masses of information: who’s behind us, who’s in front, threat assessment, choosing the best way, and observing all the beauty masterpiece painted with the finger of God — a landscape that no camera can convey. And our brain can do all of that in the blink of an eye. Just think of that! Isn’t it awe-inspiring?!
I don’t want to be rude, but have you noticed the difference between people hiking in the mountains and those who lay at the beach? Of course I generalize now, I like the sea too, but these are two extremes. The sea represents another type of society. More calculated, self-serving, fighting for every piece of free place on the sand, laying lazily drinking beer with their big bellies. Mountains are not like that. The mountains teach us humility, subjection to God, dependence of other people with whom we climb or walk. In the mountains we have time to be alone. Alone with your struggles and weaknesses. They whisper to your ear all the time, make a debate, to go further or to give up. You begin to think of the life, about how precious it is, and what you’re looking for. They say the track we chose is the road to the highest top of Poland and the easiest in the same time. Even a child can do that. Well, it isn’t really too complicated, but steep, and sometimes I’d say that dangerous. In the mountains, on the heights, you always face the danger, accident, injury, or even death. You make one bad decision, slip on a slick stone, lose your balance — just one small mistake can cost you so badly. Sometimes it is enough to hit your head against the stone, and you’re gone. That’s why the mountains teach us respect to life, to other human. Mountain society supports because it knows, how hard it is to keep on moving. They don’t fight for a free place, but they will give you some, saying: Go higher, go further, you’re gonna see more, enjoy it! They teach you respect to nature, harmony with power and greatness of the natural world. We all become a type of a family for this day. We greet each other, support each other, teach mutual respect since the youngest age. Sadly, I’ve never noticed that at the beach side. I can see there counts only ME, I, MINE - individualism. And I don’t care about you — that’s it.
How does the travel look like during the pandemic? Do we really have any virus? I was asking myself that question. I guess it is, but about his intelligence testifies the fact that he understands us, the people. Holidays have begun and the virus backed off. He took a vacation. There you have it. I live in Germany right now, and last nine months were a total lockdown, all stores, malls, except for food shops and pharmacies, drugstores and petrol stations, were closed. Some open areas marked as mask-necessary, even a curfew! The virus rampaged! We are closed, there’s nothing we can do about that. Only home — work, work — home. Then all of a sudden 1. June, and everything’s opened, restaurants, Euro in full gear — the virus is on holidays. Just overnight. But that’s cool, finally some normality. And entering Poland was another shock. Has the pandemic ever been there? Perhaps. On every shop door you can read: Entrance only with a face cover. But inside… No one’s got mask, even workers. Maybe you’ll find one person protecting his chin, or hiding a spot on the face. I entered with the mask on, and I looked like an alien. That was not possible in Germany. Conclusion: I really like this nice virus, because he let us have some vacation.
And the final thought. If the world seems hopeless to you, if you think you don’t want to live anymore, and you have enough, go on holidays. The time spent in isolation sucked the will to live from us. It pushed us to deeper apathy and state of hopelessness. But when you change the environment, you also change the perspective. One of my friends, who I met in the mountains, said: “It was so good to meet with you and to discover that with my thoughts, problems, and struggles I am not alone.”
What a beautiful thought. It was so good to meet, it is so good to talk, debate, and even argue, because we’re made to have interaction with other people. We need it for our mental health. We can’t let ourselves go crazy. Physical health is important, but if you lose you mental health, you’re going to be physically sick too. Meeting people and talking with them helped me to care about my brain hygiene and to regain my strength and joy of life. So, travel, go see your old friend until there’s such a possibility!
Stay healthy! Good to be there again.