I am a wanderer and a mountain-climber (he said to his heart), I do not like the plains and it seems I cannot sit still for long.
And whatever may yet come to me as fate and experience — a wandering and a mountain-climbing will be in it: in the final analysis one experiences only oneself.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
The wanderer longs for the mountaintop; he reaches for the heavens. He yearns for the light of day. The wanderer’s light is the earliest light, its reflections refracting off of the morning dew that rests idly atop every blade of grass.
The wanderer thirsts for where the air is cold and crisp, for where the horizon stretches out into the distance, for where the world goes quiet and in its silence slowly begins to reveal itself and unravel its mysteries.
But the mountaintop sits quietly atop the mountain, after all. It does not act, it does not move, it merely invites. It asks for sweat and it calls for struggle. The wanderer is not born on the mountaintop—he must overcome the mountain and, in doing so, he must leave behind the comfort of the town nestled in the valley along the river.
The mountaintop calls out to the wanderer. The wanderer answers, thirsting for the light of day. Alone, he toils towards the promise of the morning light.
Atop the mountain, the day was breaking. The sun always greets the mountain dwellers before it makes its way down into the town nestled in the valley along the river. The sun brought the morning light, whispering gently at the mountain dwellers.
The wanderer awoke together with the sun and the mountain dwellers. It was a calm morning at the camp on the mountaintop. It always was.
The mountain dwellers gathered for the morning meal, inviting the wanderer to sit with them. The wanderer gratefully obliged. Together, they deliberated on life atop the mountain.
At the end of the meal, each went his own way. Some went into the forests, others into the meadows, but each went out alone to deliberate in solitude.
The wanderer sat by the cliff, overlooking the town nestled in the valley along the river. “Life on the mountaintop is good. It is calm.” he thought to himself. It leaves one room to deliberate, and space to meditate. The town does not always allow for such things. Meals in the town end with dancing, but here on the mountaintop they end with deliberation.
The sun set, the mountain fog rolled in, and the wanderer returned to camp.
Some days passed. The day broke, the morning light whispered, and the wanderer joined the mountain dwellers for the morning meal.
At the end of the meal, each went out to deliberate in solitude. The wanderer found himself sitting out by the cliff overlooking the town nestled in the valley along the river. He deliberated in solitude, recalling what life was like before the mountaintop. He looked back on his climb up the mountain with gratitude.
The wanderer gathered his belongings and began heading down the mountain. He recalled an ancient text: “Anyone who wants to dance should not meditate on it. Life is to be lived, not to be deliberated.”