It’s the forty-fifth day since my brother passed and I feel him here. He was a cheerleader for me in life, and now in death, I feel him pushing me to speak. I’m uncomfortable with that, at times, and even as I type this, a crow flies to the railing of my deck and peers in. Crow symbolizes shape-shifting and now friend crow flies past my window to land on the roof and tap, tap, tap, over my head.
This morning I’m with John Lennon’s song: “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.”
I was inspired this morning to send an op-ed submission to the NY Times, and then, I realized a letter to the editor might be more appropriate so I applied to both. My husband said that Nepal needs the money generated from climbing permits, that I need to recognize income disparity. The people of Nepal need to make a living. Yes, I agree, and so I wonder if my proposal is outlandish, but isn’t that what it’s about?
I’m requesting we step out of the outer landscape into an inner landscape, so we can honor even more the landscape of which we’re part.
Submission to the NY Times:
In my book Airing Out the Fairy Tale: Trekking through Nepal & Midlife, I explore my experience in 1993 in the Everest region of Nepal, Khumbu. I focus on death because I almost died there. Ego and the belief system in which I’d been raised, mind over matter, led me to keep stepping up Kala Patthar, even though it was obvious I was pushing beyond what made sense.
With mixed feelings, I read the news of overcrowding and lax permits leading to people dying on Everest. I suggest, like Jan Morris before me, that we cut off climbing and “conquering” this mountain. We change her name to mean the “peak of kindness” in whatever language is being spoken.
I have personally experienced that there’s something about the region that leads one to lose boundaries around life and death. Perhaps it’s because it’s said all souls circle Everest when they die. It can be tempting to circle right there but I believe we can have the same exploration by turning within, and exploring the landscape we are, the mountains climbing and rivers running in each of us.
I understand Nepal needs the money the permits bring to the country, but perhaps as we more thoroughly meet what circulates within us, we could donate to this land that inspires, that leads us to look upward and meet in the clasp where mountain touches sky.
Perhaps then we can allow Everest to represent a landscape we humans leave untouched.
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one