It’s almost May Day.  As a child in Des Moines, Iowa, my family and I made baskets out of paper and filled them with goodies to hang on the door knobs of our neighbors.  I suppose it was a reverse trick or treat, a welcoming of spring and sharing.

I’m entering day 18 of grieving my brother’s passing at the age of sixty-five. Each day seems to present a different stage of grieving, a different step.

Today I am with baskets which leads me to ribs as I prefer to view what some call a rib cage as a rib basket filled with goodies like my heart and lungs.  It expands and contracts with my breath.

That brings me to yaks. I first encountered yaks in 1993 when I was trekking in the Everest region of Nepal. Yaks don’t do well at an altitude below 12,000 feet and prefer to live around 14,000 feet. Their lungs are surrounded by 14 or 15 pairs of ribs compared to 13 for cattle and 12 for humans.

In Nepal it’s said that when people pass away, their soul circles around Everest. I wonder if my brother is doing that now, circling round and round, and that’s why Everest, yaks, and breath come to mind.  

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote that “Every new object, clearly seen, opens up a new organ of perception in us.”  Since his passing, I’m seeing my brother more clearly, more wholly. A new organ of perception opens like a pupil in the eye of the heart, and I’m led by his guidance, a yak still connected to my pack.

Yaks on a suspension bridge in Nepal in 1993

4 thoughts on “Day 18: Guidance

  1. Did you walk over that suspension bridge? Wow! It gives me a different perspective on your book and on your experiences! It is so interesting how images can truly speak a thousand words…
    You now journey over a suspension bridge back to your brother’s home, to where you last saw him… may you feel the support of the yaks.


      1. I smile. It doesn’t seem so when one is there. You walk a path. There are steps and bridges, places to squeeze by where you always clutch the mountain side, especially when passing a yak. Perhaps, in this moment, hopping on an airplane seems more frightening, even though rationally I know it is a safe method of transport. It all depends on our surroundings, the ones within, and the ones in which we’re immersed. :-).


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