Silver haired and self-assured. Charming.
He was willing to help
Nothing was a problem
generous with his time
afternoon slides into dusk
he offers dinner – basic but filling.
We are a spontaneous collection of mountaineers
a mixture of hard experience and soft dreams
Four planning to climb a test piece peak
but only having equipment for two.
He is managing a nearby ski field
we ponder if they have any surplus equipment
expecting to be rebuffed but surprised.
Yes. It was a quiet time. It should be okay.
Four people did we have a second rope?
No. It would be much faster. They had a spare.
Only later is the significance realised
when an old climber intones two things in life are never lent
and a rope.
The start is an hour’s walk from the village
we can borrow his car.
I look on in amazement at the generosity
I would love to have.
After success a celebratory drink
only coffee but seeming like Scotch
deep and warming
a surprise visit from our benefactor
he kisses the only woman of the four
full and lingering.