The Rope (Portrait #3)



The snow is blamed, it always is, as mad as you get at it, as mad as it makes me. But, I know, like you do, now, it’s always the rope. The others don’t realize the rope’s properties, as a living thing. They aren’t mad, just frightened. They see me smile and relax. Fear rises then slips from them as I let go of you. Your weight is the weight of all of them, tethered together. Their trust is a grasp and mistakes made within a clasp.

I worry about you. We came this far. I have control and why not? I can’t hold on, or, should I say, I won’t. I mean, These rocks are our lives now, cold, rough. Can’t you see our lives through the others? As if their skeletons were glass and their skin invisible. If you could, you would see my reasoning. I have so much warmth for you, that’s why I let go. Surely, you understand. I tried to tell you before, when I said, “In the middle, I straddle both sides, I’m unsure of the footing.” It’s an attempt at balance. Slipping, You wouldn’t let me, I’m slipping, why would you let me? Let go. 

They teach you the ways of balance and trust, even as you fall. Belief steers people higher upon the mountains, digging caves, stashing bones, earning interest. You, like them, become dependent upon the grasp. Even in these last seconds, I would come with you, down to the foothills Play with you in the rain, rub softness into your heart, wander in a world without holding onto to it tightly, let the water run through our hands, swallow life in one motion, not to nibble it down into to pieces until bones are exposed. My hand burns as the rope slips, what did you expect? I cut the cord. I have to.

It makes me. It speaks to me. The rope is sound, a happy voice, playing games. Your voice, so weak now. I hear two voices. I get confused. Is it them? They can’t fool me. It’s the rope. It will always be the rope, my friend. They are only echoes. I’ve been here so many times and heard. Different kinds of voices, clashing rhythms, tightened microtones, struggling with the climb. I’m sorry. You don’t believe me. Yes, you are right. I can teach them about the snow How tracks get caught in them. How tracks disappear when lingering, clouds scraping precipitation, higher upon perception. But, The rope must speak in its own tongue. I can’t ask you. I can only understand you.




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25 Responses to The Rope (Portrait #3)

  1. Nice post, great photos. Thank you for bringing this into my life.


  2. calensariel says:

    Hm… I’ll have to think about this one a bit. To be honest, when I saw that first picture my thoughts went, “OMG! What’s that woman doing climbing a mountain in a bloody dress!” The there was a second picture! What an element of surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yoshiko says:

    So do you still blame the snow?


  4. Awesome. Such love and courage, but I wouldn’t blame anyone 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. juniperpine says:

    I don’t like the rope, but, how to let go when the summit is so beautiful?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. juniperpine says:



  7. Hardcore climbing a mountain in petticoats.
    Anyway! I just wanted to stop by for a follow up because I saw that you follow my blog. I try to respond to every new person that visits, but sometimes I don’t get a chance to do it right away. I hope you enjoyed what you read and I will see you back. I really look forward to seeing more from you in my blog feed.


  8. sophie says:

    Hi Elan, thank you for the follow. I really enjoyed this post. Ever since reading Touching the Void I have been fascinated by the idea of having to cut the rope. Your other recent posts intrigued me and made me want to read more. I am following you now.


  9. Great photo support. I liked this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a fascinating idea, ‘listening to the rope’… ‘Blaming the snow’ — people on all sides of me are blaming snow (and, yes, sleet, and ice, and ‘wintry mix) in NJ — my response was to write an op ed for the Times of Trenton on the beauties and blessings of prolonged cold. Your post carries me farther with this. Interesting that I’m reading Edmund Hilllary just now. They’ve knighted him because of snow… yes, fascinating thank you

    Carolyn Foote Edelmann
    NJWILDBEAUTY Nature Blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elan Mudrow says:

      Snow bound. Does that mean that one is “all tied up” because of the weather? Or does it mean the snow is determined and resolved? (P.S. I hate lol. Is that allowed?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Snowbound’ was one of the first (long, real, not nursery) poems my Mother read to me, when I was 3 1/2. It’s a forever poem, like the storms we’ve been having. Yes, we’ve been all tied up, but snow releases one, also, on many levels. Snow is definitely determined and resolved in NJ this winter — each storm has a different character, and all are inescapable. Awe is in order. But not lol – I hate it too!

        you make me see that snow is WildBeauty…

        Carolyn Foote Edelmann
        NJWILDBEAUTY Nature Blot

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Love these old photos and the story from an unusual angle. Thank you for following my blog


  12. lpfray says:

    Thank you for checking out my blog. Do you create the pictures too?


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