Curiosity has drawn me into extreme worlds of snow and ice, through high empty deserts filled with changing light and deep underground where the only light must be taken with you.
Turning the light off underground is an emotional experience. The darkness that follows is total. All light ceases to exist. On the surface, even the blackest of nights offers something. So, with time, your eyes adapt and eventually make out shapes and shades of black. No matter how you strive or stare underground, there is nothing without a light. A whole sense has been removed at the press of a button.
Everything now is about feel, touch and sounds, sounds of human movement and of water dripping or flowing, the creating force of the cave. The cave has an earthy thick smell whereas at the extreme elevation of the high mountains the air is cold and thin, biting the edges of nose and mouth with every gasping breath. Up high I’m almost overcome with blinding light and only manage because of the sunglasses. Without them the sun burns the cornea and the victim becomes snow blind.
After only a few hours underground coming back to the surface is a magical experience. What was known and taken for granted or ignored is now richly welcomed. The scent of grass and warm air is headily overpowering.
Coming down from the white of the mountain it is the colour green that is overwhelming. Each experience is of the scent and feel of grass, of living things, of seeing green as if for the first time.