Enduring Patagonia: honored, haunted, humbled


An email dropped in from a climbing friend of mine this week that leaves me honored, haunted, and humbled. And stunned.

The email tells the story of a friend of his in a tough spot, stricken with cancer that isn’t responding to chemo. His bone marrow transplant didn’t work. He’s 21 years old. He read Enduring Patagonia and loved one of its passages so much that he chose to hang it above his hospital bed:

“The night is jet black. Only the periphery of my vision can discern the edges of the great peaks against the inky sky. I trace out the shapes in the dark, and the massive bulks of stone and ice seem to stand in the coal-black night like a vast heavenly tribunal, hunkered down against time and divided from me by an impenetrable void. We are here, proud and alone, but of all the tortures meted out to man, this is the hardest to bear: that the universe doesn’t care. The universe is utterly unmoved by the human condition, and a god’s wrath would be a much easier burden than the eternal indifference apparent in this black night.”

That man has true courage. Maybe this writing thing actually is worth it.

As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.”

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2 Responses to Enduring Patagonia: honored, haunted, humbled

  1. rolo says:

    Quite clearly the writing thing is worth it.
    What a passage! Need to read EP again.

    • Gregory says:

      Thanks for checking in, Rolo! Glad you like it. Hope you’re doing well. Let me know if EP stands re-reading. Cheers, Greg

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