And so the mountain village was spared the rage of the avalanche. The elders of the village convened at the frozen, mile-wide base of snow curled high above their homes to plant prayer flags and bowls of incense. “But that’s not how life is,” his grandmother said, slamming the book closed, “because there will always be another avalanche.” He remembers her this way — white and pale, stubborn and suspicious of nature’s capacity for grace — whenever summiting a new peak.




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