Why mountains?

Whenever I mention that I like (actually it has become more like a need) to spend time, as regularly as I can, running up, and around, mountains I’m often met with confusion.

“But why?” people ask.

Why do I voluntarily spend time doing something that is very physically difficult, instead of spending my holiday time on a beach, or exploring a new city, or in a nice hotel?

I’ve often struggled to give a good answer. It has felt difficult to explain.

I was reading Nick Cave’s most recent edition of his Red Hand Files (in which he answers questions that people send him).

His response to a question included this line “Awe is the feeling we have when we encounter the monumental or immeasurable. We experience a sudden shrinking of the self, yet a rapid expansion of the soul”.

And that is how I feel every time I begin a run in the mountains.

Surrounded by a landscape that overwhelms and engulfs me I feel simultaneously tiny and also “a rapid expansion of the soul”.

It is addictive.