Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kathmandu

Sometimes I think I should step aside and let my readers write these posts. Really, you guys inspire me more often than you know. Such was the case the other day when I put the link to my Blogiversary post (here) on Facebook. My nephew Jason's Dad responded, "I always equated the highs and lows of life to mountains and valleys. While highs - mountain tops - are fine, nothing grows on mountain tops. But things grow in lows - valleys."

The statement stopped me in my tracks it resonated so loudly. I thought about little else the rest of the day. On the heals of that was a PBS special about climbers trying to summit Mt. Everest. Clearly the Universe was demanding my undivided attention. I listened, alert.

You know me, I love mountains. It's no secret that I'm a mountain girl. I'm convinced that I could no longer be satisfied living in a place where I didn't have the mountains to rest my eyes upon. I need that solid sureness of them. I need to see something that makes me realize how small our troubles are in the greater scheme of things. Besides, the sight of them rising against the sky just makes my heart soar.

But. Living on a mountain peak is impractical. As I watched the weary climbers trek to the summit of Everest, I realized just how true Willy's words were. There's no air up there, no sustenance, and it's deathly cold. As beautiful as the view is, if you spend too long at it, it will kill you. People die all the time trying to get to the "top of the world." People lose digits and limbs to frost bite, suffer the effects of hypothermia. There's not even water up there. Eating snow only further dehydrates the body, plus it further lowers the core body temperature. Even the most stalwart climbers, Sherpas who've done the climb hundreds of times, don't stay longer than a few minutes.

Does that mean we shouldn't strive for something higher? No. Just like those crazy mountain climbers, we shoot for the bigger things - often just because they're there. Nothing at all wrong with that. We like challenges, we like to further ourselves, test our endurance and limits. And that's wonderful. However, when it comes to where we live, where we eat, sleep, breathe, and yes, grow... we need a valley.

The view from the top of the mountain is gorgeous, but it's the valley that is teaming with life.

Besides, you don't start a climb halfway up, you start the climb at the bottom.

So, if you need me...

I think I'm goin' to Kathmandu.

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