All my love to the families and friends of the Mount Everest hikers who lost their lives. The tragedy is made more heartbreaking because all we are trying to do is go up, rise up, get up, see how far we can – just see.
I think about the Himalayas and my mouth gets immediately dry and my lips crack. My body holds the memory of Nepal and Tibet, the airless moonscape of the fearsome mountains. In my cells, tiny DNA chains form and reform and remind me not to go back, not to climb up, not to risk it. My lungs start to collapse from the inside. I breathe and nothing comes into me, and this is what it feels like for me at altitude. I am not conditioned like a climber should be. I care for myself well enough, but only at sea level. Even Denver makes me dizzy.
At the very least, I read about adventurers and mountaineers and explorers and their sherpas and I feel their struggle and their bravery. I met Jon Krakauer by rudely pushing others out of the way so that I could shake his famous and storied hand. There’s a majesty to those who seek the highest peaks, whether these are literal or figurative. I will always aim high but my asthma and altitude sickness will likely stop me before my fear will, at least on these particular treks.
May those who have climbed and will climb still have the wind carry them up. May they be helped along by god or spirit or nature or whoever is responsible for those things. May their bravery be rewarded with the spectacular view and may their iphones still be charged so they can take pictures for all of us down here on earth.