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Themes:     Nature & Environment (51)    Sport & Health (31)  
Tags:    Dolomites     Nature
michil Saturday, 1 October 2011

They seem to be fixed, stable, magnificently mammoth and there for eternity...

They seem to be fixed, stable, magnificently mammoth and there for eternity … Yet a beginning and an end they have too. My instructor Lezuo loved to tell the tale of how every hundred years a sparrow would fly to the peak of our home mountain, the Sassongher, to sharpen its beak between the rocks. I guess that when all the mountain has been chiselled away in such fashion even Eternity will have passed us by!

They seem to be fixed, stable, magnificently mammoth and there for eternity...
“To be a mountain guide has always been my dream”. Such was the declaration oft heard from Alberto, better known as ‘Magico’.
In much the same way the continents shift, maybe just minute amounts year after year and then occasionally comes the moment when a break comes and parts literally full off, at times a smaller part of our land we lose but at other times a sizeable chunk departs in spectacular fashion. Seemingly lost forever the resulting fragments polverise and a new life emerges, just a blade of grass and the song of the lark is sufficient for a new beginning. We ourselves in our own way begin to understand that life and death are inextricably linked. As one life ceases another is ready to emerge.

“To be a mountain guide has always been my dream”. Such was the declaration oft heard from Alberto, better known as ‘Magico’. An electrician by trade but his enduring passion was the mountain heights. Even as a little child he skied and climbed, led by his father Marcello, a climber of great repute. ‘Magico’ was a member of the mountain rescue team and many a life had he saved over the years. Just a few months ago he made the the news for together with other colleagues he had located the body of the Polish priest Kulezak who had plunged to his death after a frightening fall of 150 metres in a gulley on the Antelao mountain.

Going back in time 50 million years ago the African continent began to shift northwards until the point in time, 25 million years later on, the first rocks were to emerge in our own region. Alternating periods of hot and cold and the added factor of glaciers melting gave us the gift of cascading waterfalls and mountain forms of unimaginable beauty: peaks and crests, summits and pinnacles, hillsides and verdant valley floors abounded.

I just imagine now how many times ‘Magico’ had the chance to experience and take in all around. How many times as dusk approached did he see the magical effect which transforms the Dolomite rock into a pink and crimson wonderland? How many times would he he have marvelled at the beauty and isolation of our mountain flower, the stella alpina, and asked how it was possible for such beauty to remain intact in such harsh conditions. Who knows? And did his emotions perhaps embrace envy, jealous of the splendid isolation the flower enjoys, far from the noise of the valley floor and pure of any emotion approaching greed or self-indulgence, or even worse?

It was deep into the night when the call came and they decided to ascend, rope and all in hand, to retrieve the two German climbers in difficulty.

Cracking sounds, like a wave of noise, told the truth to we folk down in the valley. The Lord, the Creator of all, had determined that a vast mountain of rock, a beast of 3000 square metres, should reach its end and disintegrate into fragments and dust.

At that very moment in time they were there up high. ‘Magico’ and his friend Aldo, a village carpenter. Both men were local, married, and above all mountain rescuers by force of passion and belonging.

The destiny of ‘Magico’ and Aldo had become entwined with the indomitable beauty of the Dolomites, this time a beauty transformed in rage and brutality.

A paradox it seems that it should be these two men, Alberto Bonafede and Aldo Giustino, immaculate examples of how safety in the mountains should be encapsuled and transmitted to we all to clash in such circumstances with their mountain rock. But then again we know better – perhaps it is wrong to talk in terms of ‘a clash’. Better to talk in terms of ‘a union’ for one thing is sure – ‘Magico’ and Aldo will continue to look down on our mountain home, and appreciate as always and for ever their Dolomites, amazing as before at the change of colour as dusk beckons. And they will continue to practise their passion – they will continue to climb towards eternity and pursue their passion for ever more. Be they in the Glory of the Lord.

“ … at times it is difficult to understand what is right and what is wrong and that Eternity has yet to come.
Our mind is of a temporary nature and our body has no choice but to live this life here and now….”

Franco Battiato
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