BY KATHLEEN GO
In climbing Khongoryn Els, it is far better to crawl. On all fours, one limb at a time, barefoot, breathing. This will be over soon, I thought. I was feeling a different kind of tired now, a new sort of weary, at once beaten down and energized from months of drifting on the wind. The climb filled me with fire, as if I was clawing for something vital in the sand. For months I had been floating on a perfect current of air, and I did not trust the ground the way I trusted the wind. Or the way I trusted this deep refusal of what I feared lay ahead, the thing I know now as stillness, as a departure from the breeze I had drifted in on. Don’t leave me here on Earth.
The sand kept moving underneath me. The grains flowed like water and swirled in the air. I took a step forward and slid back down. To a woman resting on the dune, apparently tired of stepping and sliding, I said excitedly, “Can you believe this?” And my chest crushed when she said, “What’s the point of this?” But I was elated. “Look how far we’ve come,” I said, slowing, turning around, seeing for myself and growing giddy. “It doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere, but look how far we’ve come.”
I reached the top of the dune on a burst of vigor. The wind was howling now, the sand stinging and singing, the sun sinking, its color deepening, the endless sky darkening. My mind slowed. I sat and just cried into my sweat, looking down at the powdery sand longingly, lovingly, even as it whipped my skin. I stared at many golden miles of sand settled into mounds like the one I had just climbed. This will be over soon.
在攀登 Khongoryn Els 沙丘這件事上，最好是用爬的。四肢並用，一步一步，赤足，喘氣。“一切很快就會結束的，”我想。現在我處在另一種疲勞中，一種新的疲憊，數月以來，就這麽漫無目的地流浪，被擊潰又從中獲得能量。這樣的攀爬給予我熱情，好像我在挖掘沙中的某種熠熠生輝的東西。數月以來隨風飄蕩，我對大地的信任不同於對風的信任。也不像我信任內心深處那份對即將來臨的沈靜和作別乘風而行的抗拒。別把我留在地球上的這個角落。