The Ends of the Earth
This anthology is not about Pamela, but about the authors who contributed to it: those writers who took the time to contemplate isolation, loneliness, and solitude in all its various forms with wonder and worry and wisdom. Charlotte Austin sums up the thematic concept in her essay, "I Go to the Mountain": Sometime that afternoon, miles from the glacier and still miles from the car, I wonder: Why have I come here? It is not for the glamour of climbing mountains, for I have told no one where I will be. It is not for the solitude, although it is something I crave. Though I do not admit it to myself at the time, I do know: I come to the mountains for this dirty, sweating, hungry, bruised state. The Argentinean climber Rolando Garibotti names it: it is the search for "unmitigated contact with the natural world." I am there to strip away the human separation that hovers between me and the rest of the world, so that I can not only see but feel where I am, who I am, what I am. City life is more sanitary, and may be safer, but it has created a distance, physically and emotionally, between humans and the rest of the universe.
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