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10 thoughts on “The Snow Leopard

  1. says:

    “The sun is roaring it fills to bursting each crystal of snow I flush with feeling moved beyond my comprehension and once again the warm tears freeze upon my face These rocks and mountains all this matter the snow itself the air the earth is ringing All is moving full of power full of light” ― Peter Matthiessen Th

  2. says:

    I have taken months since reading this book to finally write this long reviewHere's some selections from the book to begin so you can see Matthiessen's spirit his Buddhist nature and his love of language without my intervention or co

  3. says:

    This is a beautiful book about a personal and physical journey in Nepal by Peter Matthiessen It is also a spiritual journey where the goal becomes completely interiorized by the author as it progresses A wonderful book for meditation on higher values in these times of well no values

  4. says:

    Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard is his account of his two months in Nepal He was invited along by field biologist George Schaller on his expedition to study Himalayan Blue Sheep and perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard Said in the

  5. says:

    I really took my time with this book I didn't want to be disturbed by the sounds of subway trains interrupted by phone calls or daily trivialities This wasn't a read I just 'fit in' but truly savored And oh my heart hurts a little now

  6. says:

    Damn This book started out so wellHowever after only a few pages it seems to have turned into a version of Log from the Sea of Cortez which also was a massive disappointment for me complete with philosophical and religious musings on the author's own life his experimenting with different drugs and his understanding of Buddhism in none of which I have any interest at allThe parts where Matthiessen describes the natural environment of his

  7. says:

    A masterpiece of travel and nature writing that gloriously transcends both genres This is one of the best books I've ever read in t

  8. says:

    This is one of the most intelligent beautifully written books I’ve read I enjoyed every moment of Matthiessen’s physical emotional and spiritual journey through Nepal and Tibet His descriptions of the landscape the villages his relationships with the people he meets and travels with the wildlife he sees his uest for spiritual enlightenme

  9. says:

    Ok I admit after the first chapter I considered not carrying on reading At this point around a third of the content was religious philosophy which is not for me However the third of the book that was the hiking exp

  10. says:

    THE SNOW LEOPARD was a book I nearly didn't finish It does get trying in some parts This is one of the few books that I actually had a dream about while reading it It seemed profound at the time and I was very glad that I soldiered on to the end of Matthiessen's wonderful story

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Free download ´ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free å Peter Matthiessen

When Matthiessen went to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly to glimpse the rare I have taken months since reading this book to finally write this long reviewHere s some selections from the book to begin so you can see Matthiessen s spirit his Buddhist nature and his love of language without my intervention or commentary The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist as I do myself the mountains exist simply which I do not The mountains have no meaning they are meaning the mountains are The sun is round I ring with life and the mountains ring and when I can hear it there is a ringing that we share I understand all this not in my mind but in my heart knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again another day Peter Matthiessen Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed things merely change shape or form the cosmic radiation that is thought to come from the explosion of creation strikes the earth with eual intensity from all directions which suggests either that the earth is at the center of the universe as in our innocence we once supposed or that the known universe has no center Peter Matthiessen The sun is roaring it fills to bursting each crystal of snow I flush with feeling moved beyond my comprehension and once again the warm tears freeze upon my face These rocks and mountains all this matter the snow itself the air the earth is ringing All is moving full of power full of light Peter Matthiessen The Lama of the Crystal Monastery appears to be a very happy man and yet I wonder how he feels about his isolation in the silences of Tsakang which he has not left in eight years now and because of his legs may never leave again Since Jang bu seems uncomfortable with the Lama or with himself or perhaps with us I tell him not to inuire on this point if it seems to him impertinent but after a moment Jang bu does so And this holy man of great directness and simplicity big white teeth shining laughs out loud in an infectious way at Jang bu s uestion Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self pity or bitterness as if they belonged to all of us he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains the high sun and dancing sheep and cries Of course I am happy here It s wonderful Especially when I have no choice Peter Matthiessen Left alone I am overtaken by the northern void no wind no cloud no track no bird only the crystal crescents between peaks the ringing monuments of rock that freed from the talons of ice and snow thrust an implacable being into the blue In the early light the rock shadows on the snow are sharp in the tension between light and dark is the power of the universe This stillness to which all returns this is reality and soul and sanity have no meaning than a gust of snow such transience and insignificance are exalting terrifying all at once Snow mountains than sea or sky serve as a mirror to one s own true being utterly still utterly clear a void an Emptiness without life or sound that carries in Itself all life all sound Peter Matthiessen Figures dark beneath their loads pass down the far bank of the river rendered immortal by the streak of sunset upon their shoulders Peter Matthiessen all from The Snow LeopardI started this book a few times in my twenties It won the National Book Award in 1978 when I was first teaching and I was not yet ready to read it Or maybe if I had gone on the road as Kerouac got a generation to do one way or the other I might have taken it with me then and actually read it I tried on a few other occasions to get into it and I couldn t do it for one reason or the other but for some reason I always knew at some point it would be important for me to experience Something like Zen and the At of Motorcycle Maintenance it was a book for a time highly influential But even then having slow read it over the month of my trip it has still taken me months to get to writing about it I warn you this could go on for a while I m mostly writing it for myself but you are welcome to come along for my reading journeyThe Snow Leopard is one of the best and important books I have ever read and I finally read it not in some hippie solo way or at an Ashram or something but on a one month road trip in a mini van no less ha with three kids and my wife making a big western circle of the US leaving Chicago and going through Montana to Seattle down the Oregon coastline to Monterey Bay across the desert stopping at Vegas for a day which was of course surreal in comparison with everything else through the Rockies and across the Great Plains back home An epic once in a lifetime trip tent camping hiking several national parks driving through the west I know and love sometimes reading the poetry of the region if I remembered to look it up as I went A pilgrimage of sorts for me anyway partly spiritual as much as getting in touch with natural beauty and friends along the way I m not as Matthiessen is a Zen Buddhist by the way but in addition to Buddhism inspired poetry like Gary Snyder s I also read a Buddhist themed architectural book on the trip The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander that explores the relationships between selves and surroundings Organic architecture in harmony with place Also perfect for the trip and in tandem with The Snow Leopard I also reviewed Alexander s book on Goodreads awhile ago Matthiessen eually adept at fiction and non fiction in The Snow Leopard writes the book of his life He s on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas a year after his wife is dead leaving his eight year old son behind with family as he seeks at least two things A glimpse of the rare and the presumedly soon to be extinct Snow Leopard and a visit with the Lama of Shay at the Crystal Mountain where few westerners have dared venture As I said he s a Zen Buddhist something I in the seventies casually studied as I eased slowly but inexorably out of my Dutch Reformed Christian upbringing and this is a time in his life he wantsneeds to make this uest this journey And he makes it with a friend crusty field biologist George Schaller who is there to study the Himalayan Blue Sheep Matthiessen is crusty too actually he doesn t project himself as a saint They go with a number of sherpas and encounter a very few people along their way though PM does actually meet the Lama of Shay But the book is mainly Matthiessen s account of his inner and outer journey past and present as they all become one a study of grief beauty impermanence related in some of the most beautiful language to ever grace the page You know Bill Bryson s A Walk in the Woods Or Cheryl Strayed s Wild or even old John Bunyan s Pilgram s Progress The travel narrative that is also a journey of the soul has a long tradition and a rich one It s worth the time to travel with them once in awhile But speaking of harmony and seeking a creature as you are also essentially seeking yourself which is a kind of contradiction to Buddhism about being content where you are There were two key Snow Leopard like creatures on our trip s list Hump backed whales and elk though we hadn t sought them out in particular initially The hump backed whales orcas and other whales were closer to the shoreline than in decades around Monterey Bay in late August 2015 and we stood with various locals reverently and feverishly able with our naked eye to see them spout breach and feed boats and kayaks hovering around them at a respectful distance It felt like what the Indians call a ceremony to have been there As would have been the case in the seventies a couple evenings there were guitars and much wine as locals excitedly told about how wonderful this occasion was even for them having lived there all their liveshttpsanfranciscocbslocalcom2015In Colorado in the Rocky Mountain State Park a week or so later we were privileged to be around for the once a year bugling or mating call of the Elks which felt completely magical to experience of comical too right That some mate any mate might find that noise inviting But we found it pretty transformative that and the whales though we saw many many other species of animals and birds we dutifully recorded along the wayIn the seeking PM learns the Buddhist patience of expecting nothing as he seeks The seeking the journey is key We did see all these creatures and were happy to find them Did PM find his snow leopard Did it matter to him either way Read it to find outReviews then and now have been critical of Matthiessen for leaving his son home his son s mother dead less than a year ago to make his own lonesome spiritual trek and I ll admit they have a point In a way it seems selfish On my trip I had also left my 15 year old son home as there was little room in the van and he had other responsibilities at home but we could have made it work and I felt guilty for failing to do so When I saw and felt the criticism of PM for his fatherly desertion I felt this sense of responsibility for desertion as PM felt it I should have taken my camping passionate son I should have just found a way to do it but I left him with his mother guilt replacing him every mile of the way But the point of this book is to neither romanticize nor demonize PM or myself I think we mostly do come to admire PM at times but that is not decidedly not the point in his writing overall His goal is is to be honest and clear He is trying to empty his soul of all self destructive desires and needs But he has a son that needs him you say and you d have a point PM is not always an easy guy to get along with or like He sometimes seems regarding his hired sherpas a tad ethno centric as even so does his friend GS if not downright racist on the rare occasion But PM is not trying to whitewash his story He is trying to be truthful about himself and he is about his marriage for sure I believe this is one reason some reviewers like the book less that he is grumpy and cool and removed even by his own accounts but this is one reason I admired his account The account feels real His observations of environmental devastation even already in the seventies even paling in comparison to the acceleration of the extinctions now is nevertheless poignant of course His thrilling poetic descriptions of the Himalayas make it all seem timeless eternal on the one hand separate from selfish humans and yet also fragile in many ways vulnerable to human devastation On our trip we traveled through the massive west coast drought through the haze of unspeakably scary fires The trip from Spokane to Seattle for instance took place in smoky haze Even in the car with windows closed a couple times we felt it difficult to breathe It felt at moments like Cormac McCarthy s The Road in places apocalyptic A massive old growth tree fell in Redwoods National Forest not a hundred feet from our tent a victim of the worst drought in anyone s memory The exposed roots were sadly dusty Park workers told of the loss of many such trees What the hell were we doing there while the landscape and the people there were suffering What kind of self indulgence had traveling become as the planet was dying before our very eyes Was this just a na ve and selfish vacation on our part to think we could just enjoy nature and somehow pretend for a time that we as a race were not in the process of contributing to this devastation Maybe Maybe we should have taken the trip money and contributed it to environmental organizationsBut so many good things happened including a deepening commitment to enviromental awareness for all of us Our study of tide pools in Oregon was amazing for instance Watching shooting stars in Arches National Park Hiking the Narrows in Bryce Canyon These are the privileges of the middle class to spend lots of money as PM and I do to experience nature on spiritual journies Is it merely sixties inspired individualism Or in experiencing nature travel in this way is it possible we bring to loving the earth I hope it is the latter and not just an escapist frolic when this happens for any of us who do it The Buddhism of PM does seem inner than socially focused and we too at times seemed to be escaping our lives as travel can be but on the whole and speaking for myself I felt the occasion as traveling into myself and at the same time linking with family and friends along the way and the greater world We made a commitment to increasing our advocacy for the environment as a family on this trip I loved Matthiessen s parallel and integrated inner and outer searches in this pristine natural setting looking for these rare and special and still not uite extinct animals in their habitat as he seeks himself and reflects on his life with his wife and family I found it very moving and inspiring Sometimes reading books like this can be just important as you know Some books as you read them can be almost autobiographical as in telling you your own life But I can t imagine this book would be the same to everyone at all stages of their lives And PM s Buddhism might annoybore some readers at times as it did a couple friends I know I loved every page of it though I really did PS There were two Snow Leopards born in the summer of 2015 at Chicago s Brookfield Zoo Several times now I have seen them but I waited to see them until I was done with this book I traveled the country to see the Snow Leopard at home Is that like the Wizard Oz There s no place like homeHere they areUpdate August 2107 The snow leopards are still doing fine here at the zoo The Jamaican Ninja Bert 2 you can see Matthiessen s spirit his Buddhist nature and his love of language without my intervention or commentary The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist as I do myself the mountains exist simply which I do not The mountains have no meaning they are meaning the mountains are The sun is round I ring with life and the mountains ring and when I can hear it there is a ringing that we share I understand all this not in my mind but in my heart knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again another day Peter Matthiessen Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed things merely change shape or form the cosmic radiation that is thought to come from the explosion of creation strikes the earth with eual intensity from all directions which suggests either that the earth is at the center of the universe as in our innocence we once supposed or that the known universe has no center Peter Matthiessen The sun is roaring it fills to bursting each crystal of snow I flush with feeling moved beyond my comprehension and once again the warm tears freeze upon my face These rocks and mountains all this matter the snow itself the air the earth is ringing All is moving full of power full of light Peter Matthiessen The Lama of the Crystal Monastery appears to be a very happy man and Savage Moon Savage Moon 0 3 yet I wonder how he feels about his isolation in the silences of Tsakang which he has not left in eight The Damned Innocents yet ready to read it Or maybe if I had gone on the road as Kerouac got a generation to do one way or the other I might have taken it with me then and actually read it I tried on a few other occasions to get into it and I couldn t do it for one reason or the other but for some reason I always knew at some point it would be important for me to experience Something like Zen and the At of Motorcycle Maintenance it was a book for a time highly influential But even then having slow read it over the month of my trip it has still taken me months to get to writing about it I warn The Definitive Guide To Momentum Indicators you this could go on for a while I m mostly writing it for myself but Delapan Mata Air Kecemerlangan you are welcome to come along for my reading journeyThe Snow Leopard is one of the best and important books I have ever read and I finally read it not in some hippie solo way or at an Ashram or something but on a one month road trip in a mini van no less ha with three kids and my wife making a big western circle of the US leaving Chicago and going through Montana to Seattle down the Oregon coastline to Monterey Bay across the desert stopping at Vegas for a day which was of course surreal in comparison with everything else through the Rockies and across the Great Plains back home An epic once in a lifetime trip tent camping hiking several national parks driving through the west I know and love sometimes reading the poetry of the region if I remembered to look it up as I went A pilgrimage of sorts for me anyway partly spiritual as much as getting in touch with natural beauty and friends along the way I m not as Matthiessen is a Zen Buddhist by the way but in addition to Buddhism inspired poetry like Gary Snyder s I also read a Buddhist themed architectural book on the trip The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander that explores the relationships between selves and surroundings Organic architecture in harmony with place Also perfect for the trip and in tandem with The Snow Leopard I also reviewed Alexander s book on Goodreads awhile ago Matthiessen eually adept at fiction and non fiction in The Snow Leopard writes the book of his life He s on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas a Difesa A Zona year after his wife is dead leaving his eight Decline Of Hell Seventeenth Century Discussions Of year old son behind with family as he seeks at least two things A glimpse of the rare and the presumedly soon to be extinct Snow Leopard and a visit with the Lama of Shay at the Crystal Mountain where few westerners have dared venture As I said he s a Zen Buddhist something I in the seventies casually studied as I eased slowly but inexorably out of my Dutch Reformed Christian upbringing and this is a time in his life he wantsneeds to make this uest this journey And he makes it with a friend crusty field biologist George Schaller who is there to study the Himalayan Blue Sheep Matthiessen is crusty too actually he doesn t project himself as a saint They go with a number of sherpas and encounter a very few people along their way though PM does actually meet the Lama of Shay But the book is mainly Matthiessen s account of his inner and outer journey past and present as they all become one a study of grief beauty impermanence related in some of the most beautiful language to ever grace the page You know Bill Bryson s A Walk in the Woods Or Cheryl Strayed s Wild or even old John Bunyan s Pilgram s Progress The travel narrative that is also a journey of the soul has a long tradition and a rich one It s worth the time to travel with them once in awhile But speaking of harmony and seeking a creature as Herd Book Vol 30 yourself which is a kind of contradiction to Buddhism about being content where Chasing The Dragon you are There were two key Snow Leopard like creatures on our trip s list Hump backed whales and elk though we hadn t sought them out in particular initially The hump backed whales orcas and other whales were closer to the shoreline than in decades around Monterey Bay in late August 2015 and we stood with various locals reverently and feverishly able with our naked eye to see them spout breach and feed boats and kayaks hovering around them at a respectful distance It felt like what the Indians call a ceremony to have been there As would have been the case in the seventies a couple evenings there were guitars and much wine as locals excitedly told about how wonderful this occasion was even for them having lived there all their liveshttpsanfranciscocbslocalcom2015In Colorado in the Rocky Mountain State Park a week or so later we were privileged to be around for the once a The History Of Waverly Hills Sanatorium Haunted Histories Book 1 year bugling or mating call of the Elks which felt completely magical to experience of comical too right That some mate any mate might find that noise inviting But we found it pretty transformative that and the whales though we saw many many other species of animals and birds we dutifully recorded along the wayIn the seeking PM learns the Buddhist patience of expecting nothing as he seeks The seeking the journey is key We did see all these creatures and were happy to find them Did PM find his snow leopard Did it matter to him either way Read it to find outReviews then and now have been critical of Matthiessen for leaving his son home his son s mother dead less than a Form Follows Idea year ago to make his own lonesome spiritual trek and I ll admit they have a point In a way it seems selfish On my trip I had also left my 15 Infant Development year old son home as there was little room in the van and he had other responsibilities at home but we could have made it work and I felt guilty for failing to do so When I saw and felt the criticism of PM for his fatherly desertion I felt this sense of responsibility for desertion as PM felt it I should have taken my camping passionate son I should have just found a way to do it but I left him with his mother guilt replacing him every mile of the way But the point of this book is to neither romanticize nor demonize PM or myself I think we mostly do come to admire PM at times but that is not decidedly not the point in his writing overall His goal is is to be honest and clear He is trying to empty his soul of all self destructive desires and needs But he has a son that needs him der-tote-im-strandkorb-die-inselkommissarin-1 you say and Dana White King Of Mma you d have a point PM is not always an easy guy to get along with or like He sometimes seems regarding his hired sherpas a tad ethno centric as even so does his friend GS if not downright racist on the rare occasion But PM is not trying to whitewash his story He is trying to be truthful about himself and he is about his marriage for sure I believe this is one reason some reviewers like the book less that he is grumpy and cool and removed even by his own accounts but this is one reason I admired his account The account feels real His observations of environmental devastation even already in the seventies even paling in comparison to the acceleration of the extinctions now is nevertheless poignant of course His thrilling poetic descriptions of the Himalayas make it all seem timeless eternal on the one hand separate from selfish humans and Mayday yet also fragile in many ways vulnerable to human devastation On our trip we traveled through the massive west coast drought through the haze of unspeakably scary fires The trip from Spokane to Seattle for instance took place in smoky haze Even in the car with windows closed a couple times we felt it difficult to breathe It felt at moments like Cormac McCarthy s The Road in places apocalyptic A massive old growth tree fell in Redwoods National Forest not a hundred feet from our tent a victim of the worst drought in anyone s memory The exposed roots were sadly dusty Park workers told of the loss of many such trees What the hell were we doing there while the landscape and the people there were suffering What kind of self indulgence had traveling become as the planet was dying before our very eyes Was this just a na ve and selfish vacation on our part to think we could just enjoy nature and somehow pretend for a time that we as a race were not in the process of contributing to this devastation Maybe Maybe we should have taken the trip money and contributed it to environmental organizationsBut so many good things happened including a deepening commitment to enviromental awareness for all of us Our study of tide pools in Oregon was amazing for instance Watching shooting stars in Arches National Park Hiking the Narrows in Bryce Canyon These are the privileges of the middle class to spend lots of money as PM and I do to experience nature on spiritual journies Is it merely sixties inspired individualism Or in experiencing nature travel in this way is it possible we bring to loving the earth I hope it is the latter and not just an escapist frolic when this happens for any of us who do it The Buddhism of PM does seem inner than socially focused and we too at times seemed to be escaping our lives as travel can be but on the whole and speaking for myself I felt the occasion as traveling into myself and at the same time linking with family and friends along the way and the greater world We made a commitment to increasing our advocacy for the environment as a family on this trip I loved Matthiessen s parallel and integrated inner and outer searches in this pristine natural setting looking for these rare and special and still not uite extinct animals in their habitat as he seeks himself and reflects on his life with his wife and family I found it very moving and inspiring Sometimes reading books like this can be just important as Christmas Make It Sparkle you know Some books as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome you read them can be almost autobiographical as in telling Snow Day you Hair your own life But I can t imagine this book would be the same to everyone at all stages of their lives And PM s Buddhism might annoybore some readers at times as it did a couple friends I know I loved every page of it though I really did PS There were two Snow Leopards born in the summer of 2015 at Chicago s Brookfield Zoo Several times now I have seen them but I waited to see them until I was done with this book I traveled the country to see the Snow Leopard at home Is that like the Wizard Oz There s no place like homeHere they areUpdate August 2107 The snow leopards are still doing fine here at the zoo

Free download The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard

High passes This is a radiant and deeply moving account of a true pilgrimage a journey of the hear Ok I admit after the first chapter I considered not carrying on reading At this point around a third of the content was religious philosophy which is not for me However the third of the book that was the hiking expedition and the third that was about the flora and fauna was great and I am glad I persistedDespite a few forays into the spiritual journey the expedition and scientific research parts of the book are much heavily featured in the following chaptersThe book is Matthiessen s account of his two months in Nepal in 1973 He was invited along by field biologist George Schaller on his expedition to study Himalayan Blue Sheep and to perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard The destination is the Crystal Mountain in the remote Inner Dolpo region of Nepal which was formerly a part of Tibet It was an area difficult to obtain permission for and that permission was often not enough to stop the local police turning travellers backThey commence the trek in at Pokhara Two white sahibs four sherpas fourteen porters heading west to Dhorptan then north It takes a little over a month to reach Shey a very small village consisting of a locked Monastery and a handful of houses empty for the most part The expedition is timed to allow Schaller s research of the Blue Sheep or BharalPseudois nayaur and be present at the rut This valley at the Crystal Mountain is particularly suitable as the Lama at the Monastery has prevented any hunting in the area for the many years The sheep are therefore much tamer that those regularly huntedThe two sahibs basically do their own thing which for Matthiessen is climbing each day to observe a flock or two flocks which have combined temporarily and their behavior There are interludes of wolf snow leopard various birdlife yeti and the interactions with the Tibetan Nepalese passing through and with Schaller and the sherpa all of which make fascinating readingThe journey out has them heading further west to Jumla near the Indian border from where they can fly back to Kathmandu The Archetype Of Initiation years The sheep are therefore much tamer that those regularly huntedThe two sahibs basically do their own thing which for Matthiessen is climbing each day to observe a flock or two flocks which have combined temporarily and their behavior There are interludes of wolf snow leopard various birdlife duplicity yeti and the interactions with the Tibetan Nepalese passing through and with Schaller and the sherpa all of which make fascinating readingThe journey out has them heading further west to Jumla near the Indian border from where they can fly back to Kathmandu

Free download ´ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free å Peter Matthiessen

And beautiful snow leopard he undertook his five week trek as winter snows were sweeping into the I really took my time with this book I didn t want to be disturbed by the sounds of subway trains interrupted by phone calls or daily trivialities This wasn t a read I just fit in but truly savored And oh my heart hurts a little now that it is over It is a slow book and thus may not appeal to those looking for action or conclusion even It is a book that celebrates the spark of life that propels us towards transcending our heavy human existence in pursuit of something Here the journey begins with the goal of being able to see the ever elusive snow leopard in a very remote part of the Himalayas The descriptions of birds and animals and plants so unfamiliar to my citified self had me running to Wikipedia uite often But than just a travel journal or a meditation on nature it is a primer on the essence of Buddhism and the contemplation of just being It is uite beautiful as such and if I can take away the glint of perfection he describes in those moments of just taking in what is there as it is when it isI feel lighter already