Last February, I rediscovered an old friend in the Chamonix valley; Mont Joli. She (this mountain is definitely a she) rises tall and proud and is best viewed from slopes in Les Houches. I saw her as I was going up a chairlift, one of the few times during my ten days there when I found myself alone.
I don’t feel the need to talk about mountains. I prefer to talk with them and listen to what they have to tell me. Mt Joly immediately drew my attention with her beauty and grace, her snow-capped pinnacle piercing the clouds.
I’ve always felt particularly drawn to this peak and shifted guiltily in my seat when I realised I couldn’t remember her name. As if to punish me, she disappeared behind the clouds. I begged her to come out again before the chairlift reached the top, and she did. Her reappearance elated me and gave me the feeling that anything is possible. As soon as I felt the joy of seeing her again, I remembered her name. Of course! Mont Joli!
While looking at her finely carved features, I drew strength from their confidence and self assuredness. Mont Joly knows who she is, but who is Eva Adams she asked. I immediately thought of a character in my current story and, right there and then on the chairlift, felt myself become that character. It’s a character I’ve based on a star constellation I’m very fond of; Cassiopeia.
Mont Joly is the mountain equivalent of Cassiopeia. Legend has it that Cassiopeia was a Greek Goddess who enraged Poseidon by claiming that she and her daughter, Andromeda, were more beautiful than his sea nymphs. To punish her, Poseidon forced her to float for all eternity around the sky on her throne, spending half of her time clinging to it upside down.
Mont Joly told me Cassiopeia isn’t vain, but simply a true beauty in the deepest sense of the word. Like Cassiopeia, Mont Joly doesn’t care whether or not she’s seen as the most beautiful. She doesn’t see other mountains as competition but as friends and sources of inspiration. Her power comes from within, the drive to be the best version of herself for her own benefit and that of those around her.
On that brief chairlift ride Mt Joly told me enough to fill two pages of my trusty purple notebook. As the chair reached the top, I felt my best self awaken. One that was connected with the mountains and part of them. I was Cassiopeia! I was Mont Joly! It was at then that this beautiful mountain chose to tell me something else.
As I skied off full of joy, I noticed the lift guy at the top smiling at me and saying hello. I smiled back and decided to do a little spin, something I hadn’t done for quite a while. I did it perfectly and was about to congratulate myself when the ‘real’ me came back and nearly made me lose my balance. “Beware of being too self conscious.” Mont Joly warned, “So what if you’re not perfect, it was fun, wasn’t it? Just enjoy it”. And I did, for the rest of the day.
As I write this, I feel the same joy I felt then. I’ve decided it’s time to come out from behind the cloud I’ve been hiding behind. Like Mont Joly, I want to be seen.