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Snow Leopards (Explore My World)

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Snow mountains, more 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. Though not the first to climb Everest, Matthiesssen does it when it’s remains somewhat virgin territory.

A lark, a swift, a lammergeier, and more griffons: the vultures pass at eye level, on creaking wings.For two months of 1973, from late September to late November, Matthiessen joined zoologist George Schaller on a journey from the Nepalese Himalayas to the Tibetan Plateau to study Himalayan blue sheep. Schwartz is a long-standing conservation professional with extensive experience in data management as applied to conservation programs within zoological institutions as well as for regional cooperative animal management programs and in situ conservation efforts.

Snow Leopards, Second Edition provides a foundational, comprehensive overview of the biology, ecology and conservation of this iconic species. In 1973 Matthiessen made the 250-mile trek to Dolpo, as part of an expedition to study wild blue sheep.I came to this book through Without Ever Reaching the Summit: A Journey which purports to follow in Matthiessen’s footsteps. As a protector she guards an infinity of mountain realms and the people in them but it is time to find some-one to take her place. The journey is arduous, with its own particular dangers; at one point, a group of porters who did not take the appropriate precautions are afflicted with snow blindness, “a very disagreeable burning of the corneas which comes on with little warning and has no cure other than time: the sensation is that of sand thrown in the eyes” (p. Matthiessen at the time considered himself a "student" of Zen Buddhism and according to the introduction would later be "ordained as a Zen priest.

But there is a disarming directness and honesty to Matthiessen's account, he tells us that his relationship with his wife was bad, until he really realises that she is going to die, he tells us about his restless travels and drug taking, he tells us that his boots are not broken in before the journey, he tells us of his longing for inner peace just as in the next paragraph he will talk about how angry he is, indeed how angry he was even before his wife died. Matthiessen’s book is part travelogue, part naturalist observations, and part coming to terms with loss. It is quite 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 is. Early in the book, I found myself wondering why or to be more exact what type of father would leave a young son just a year after the son lost his mother. I found myself always reaching out for other books, but also feeling obligated to finish this for the book club journey.The book is about a delightful threesome of child heroes who battle the villains of ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’ in the Himalayas. It is also a spiritual journey where the goal becomes completely interiorized by the author as it progresses. I read the Snow Leopard after I read his obit three weeks ago and discovered he was the only person (?

With these stories and Nic’s gorgeous photos of captive animals in zoos, we were able to enliven our pages with glimpses of snow leopards that Nic and I didn’t actually witness on our trip–but that we were still able to enjoy and learn from nonetheless. These two men schlepped not only journals but books and various equipment up and down some of the most forbidding terrain in the world. It’s a treasure trove of stories, including contributions from some of SLT’s field staff and snow leopard biologists. It also involves a meditation upon inner peace, however, as well as external exploration, [2] in a way that is reminiscent of Basho, Wordsworth or Thoreau.

Behind and below, among swirls made by snow gleam and the ice-broken black brook, a surreal figure very like my own pursues me across the vast floor of the mountains. I would like to reach the Crystal Monastery, I would like to see a snow leopard, but if I do not, that is all right, too. The point is that Matthiessen is able to make this a book about enlightenment, both his and the readers, so much so that one does agree with GS who wonders if it would perhaps be better if the snow leopard remained unseen.

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