RITE OF SPRING
We chain the body to the rock in the fall before the first snow. All through the winter on clear days you can see it about three hundred meters from the summit. That white lump below the avalanche slope. Oh, as long as its frozen it can't feel anything. It's none the worse for it.
But of late the pale sun grows stronger and the blood in the body will be melting and beginning to stir. By now, it may have warmed enough to begin forcing its way into the shrunken veins. You can't imagine the pain in the warming of nerve endings so long dormant. A thousand frost-bitten fingers over fire wouldn't amount to half an idea of it.
By now the sun is softening the flesh. But the sun can't soften the rock nor melt those chains. Those are 100 percent high grade steel. The mountain will tear 'em out without even noticing when her winter coat comes off. But 'til then, that body's not going anywhere.
See the glittering white up there above the body? That's the foot of a glacier. It's rotting now. Ice water running out from under it, down the wall and over the body, stealing its new warmth, and adding torment from outside to the pain swelling within.
If the weather holds, it won't be long until breakup. It starts at the top. A sharp crack as the ice tears away from the mountain's face, a low rumble as it begins to slide. A rumble such as you'd think the planet herself was going to be sick as that mass begins to move. Tons of it, tearing out trees and rocks; everything in its path, accelerating as it goes, headed for the river. Everything in Nature flushes into the river you know. That's how Nature cleans herself.
Usually the body isn't alive enough to know what's happening. But sometimes it is. Sometimes it hears the sound. There are years when it's strong enough to lift its head and look to the light. That makes for a brief moment of truth that's interesting to observe, through a telescope or... but to see it, you'd have to sit here watching for a couple of days, maybe a week, maybe more and you've got important things to do.
It's all part of the cycle and it's been going on since long before you were born, Sonny.