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Chronology is someone else’s problem.

I’m more a stream of consciousness girl. I’ve already told you about my motivations for going to Everest Base Camp – and then there’s the journey and the preparation for the journey, the gear, the must haves and the never do this.

Let’s talk touchy feely preparation. I knew from the beginning that my trip to Nepal was more than about a destination.  In fact, the place was secondary in many ways.

Trekking is really just, you know, walking. A trek in Nepal is fundamentally the same a trek amywhere. You just have to walk*. One foot in front of the other. (At altitude, one foot will go very slowly in front of the other as you move up the trail at a snail’s pace in order to acclimatize.)

The best physical preparation you can do for any serious trek is walk. As must as you can, as far as you can every chance you get. The best mental preparation you can do is, well, walk.  This is how I prepared anyway.

I love to hike alone. I like being quiet with my thoughts and a sense of peace and relief and freedom come over me. Surrounded by the forest, I feel grateful to be alive. I feel lucky to simply exist.

It was no chore to get outside and walk around for the sake of getting my EBC on. Every weekend for the last 4 or 5 months leading up to my departure for Nepal, I was outside in the horrendous heat and humidity of Arkansas. It’s a brutal time to be training with a heavy pack.**  Despite the sticky weather, I found the quiet time to myself was a great way to center myself and a way to be open to whatever thoughts and experiences came to me.

So often my heart and mind on my walks turns to meaning. The meaning of wamderlust. The meaning of self-actualization. The meaning of existence.
It’s a gift to hear my soul gurgle up its secrets, its purest joys. Somewhere in the foliage and bark, I find something sacred.

Herman Hesse said it better than me:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves…

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life…

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours….Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

 

 

Friends, you see now, don’t you? The truth for what it is. 

I walked to Nepal so I could make like a tree and find my true self, to find happiness in being who I am.  I trekked to EBC so I could come back home.

And even after all those miles, I’m still walking.  

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

*So, okay, it’s not as easy as that. For one, you’re going to have to walk forever. Then, with the altitude, a trek in the Himalayas is no walk in any Arkansas state park. And walking forever every day at altitude is plain misery. You should totally do this. Really. This kind of misery will make you happier than you can imagine.

* *Okay, it was only a 20 lb pack but 1) I’ve never done any pack work so that was plenty hard enough for me, and 2) it was in the mid- to -upper 90s with high humidity. Stop being so judgmental!

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I’m dead with dying
There is an eye I refuse to catch

I was born with knowing
I look and I listen and I discern
I know

You’ve caught my eye
I’m not God
But I know

Tell me everything
The bile and the filth and the worst, pour it
All that will be left will be left behind
Listen to my knowing

Let me catch your eye
My knowing is a reflection
There’s no dream I can’t decipher
I simply know
You tell me what’s the matter
And that’s what’s the matter
A reflection
through kinder eyes than you can’t bear to see
This is my knowing

I was born in January
I am dead with dying
There’s an eye I refuse to catch

It’s the eye of a child
Who won’t let me see
Something terrible happened
Something awful and humiliating
Something that drained my blood from my face my screams from my throat my heart from my chest and
Something that puddled my potty down my leg and between my toes
Something terrible
And I don’t know
Something terrible
And I don’t know

Hollow now
I won’t catch my blue eye that eyes me in the mirror

I was a child born dead with knowing
It was January
It was cold something terrible
Something terrible
And I don’t know

Let’s forgo the easy way.

In October, I found myself at a funeral for a friend’s daughter, who was just shy of her 19th birthday. She’s just a kid. It’s the phrase that played on repeat the whole day. At the service, two things were emphasized that struck a deep, reverberating chord in me:

— Finish your unfinished business

— Learn as much about life as you can while you have the good fortune to have breath in your lungs

It made me think about what it meant to be an 18-year-old girl again. I can’t quite fit into the shoes of that girl anymore, but I remember the world had endless potential then. There was a promise of things to come. I still think there’s my whole life to do all the things I wanted to do when I was just a kid.

I’m not just a kid anymore–even though I don’t feel like an adult, either. I’ve had 18 more years on the planet than this girl did, and I can’t help feeling as though I have unfinished business.  For all the hard (and necessary) lessons I’ve learned in my life, I’ve not learned enough. I’ve not done my part.

I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life sorting myself out. It’s been necessary. I believe in the power of self-reflection and brutally assessing oneself. I’m self-aware, sometimes to a fault, and I believe in the power of self-reflection and internal struggle. While suffering matters – it means something – I’ve nearly out-suffered myself.

But I’m not a kid anymore. The thought is as sobering and final as the closing of a coffin.

And so when I started thinking about how to enrich my life, the one thing that kept coming up was travel. With the exception of a “go me” solo excursion to Alaska and some side trips here and there, travel has been on the backburner for quite some time. It’s too bad, because I feel a sense of freedom and euphoria when I experience a whole new world.

And oh, where to go. There’s so much ground to cover (literally). The immediate bucket list is chock full of mountains and/or glaciers and/or snow…the very things I do not have in my corner of the world. Nepal and Iceland are the top two international contenders while the national parks in Alaska, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming are calling my name stateside.

The details will come. It feels good to make an 18-year-old promise to myself to continue to learn what I can about universe. After all, I’m not a kid anymore.

there are no promises that can be kept
by gift we live by right we die
grace is optional
except when it’s not

the grace to bear grief
is sometimes always never
the only prayer there is

in these hot, breathless last days, it’d do us to get on with the praying
sooner than later

I went back to read your words
But they aren’t there
They aren’t to be found
The website says
Nothing here

There’s nothing there

Was there ever?
If I can’t read the words
I can’t be sure I ever knew you

You always knew I was of flightly, flimsy flesh
So why take the words from me
Why is there nothing there?

image

A word, self-righteous angel
If you write the Anthology of You
There are consequences
Demon-meaning
In essence
It’s time to drink down the medicine:
If you play with Ouija
Don’t complain about the smell of dead people

On Monday, happenstance occurred. Happenstance, I say, because I’m not sure I believe in fate or destiny, puzzle pieces fitting together just so. I see a yellow sticky note on my office floor. I leave it there for several hours. I have things to do. In the mid-afternoon, I pick up the note and take a look-see. I’m jolted to see it. His email, the asshole, who ruined the name Steve for me, although I never liked it anyway. The one with no affection for me. His email, who I’d finally forgotten. His email, written down a year and a half ago just in case we ever started communicating again, still waiting to be typed in my compose box.

He’s not much to me, not even painful to think about. He’s nothing. He’s an asshole. He is Steve.

He facebooked me a few months ago and I told him to never contact me again.

I’m not sure why I can’t bring myself to throw the sticky note away.

All about me.

In one word describe how you currently see yourself:
homely

One prominent nickname you were given:
ML or in my other life, Lo

One strange fact about yourself:
I hate constrictions of having to come up with one response when I mostly have several responses to questions, some of which are mutually exclusive.

One bad habit?
Not washing my hair often enough

One thing you can’t tolerate?
Wordpress monster avatars that appear as my picture on some blogs. It says it saves the new avatar but then the monster shows up. And the monster looks like he’s smiling. Like he’s a happy monster. Ugh. See Bindo’s site for my monster-faced comment.

What that sickens you?
Tidiness, rinsing with salt water

One thing you can’t forgive?
Bryan, for telling me there’s no hurry to complete his contest and then calling me every 5 seconds to see if I have selected a winner.

You have difficulties with…?
grocery shopping and bullets found in my door

What turns you on in a man physically?
Tall, hair on head, brain optional
What turns you on in a woman physically?
overalls

What is a turn off for you in a man physically?
A small oh-my. Short and/or without hair.

What is a turn off for you in a woman physically?
scabs

Have you seen the white light at the end of the tunnel?
I try to block it out with my sleeping mask.

One drink you’re never touching again?
Pledge-flavored herbal tea

How many countries have you visited?
A lowly 2 countries.

How many countries still on the list?
All of them, although I might wait a minute before heading over to Somalia or Afghanistan

One word to describe you a random friend.
Sevenlicious

One word to describe your partner.
N/fucking/A

One word to describe your latest ex.
Smelly

One word do describe your soul mate.
available

One word to describe your nemesis.
Sevenlicious

Your future in one word
freezer

You’re stranded on an island… One thing you’d want…?
liposuction

One word to describe this tag
time-waster

One thing you would like to say to the person on your mind right now
Wanna cuddle?

Bryan has answered seven pressing questions (seven, because he refused to answer any more or less because of his ocd). Enjoy.

1. Do you find Nestle Crunch bars slightly more satisfying than love? Be honest.

When I was young, I did find Nestle Crunch bars more satisfying than love. But, truth be told, love to me then was make believing my high school girlfriend at the time (we’ll call her Melody Eclair) was actually a sophomore named Bo while a certain third wheel rocked herself crazily in the corner of my black Chevy S-10. Now, when pressed, I’d have to say the only thing I find more satisfying than love is a good creme brulee, so long as the layer on top gives you that little crunch.

2. What does it mean if a guy has medium-sized feet and squinty eyes? Don’t lie.

It means orgasm is probably out of the question for all involved.

3. I haven’t gotten a text in hours. Why is this happening to me?

Because you say things like, “I thought you’d never wanted to hear from me again,” “cooooooookies,” and “my dog peed on me.”

4. When are you going to provide me with a homecooked meal again?

You’ve requested Hamburger Helper of the Cheeseburger Macaroni variety. While technically this meal is beneath my level of skill, I will make this for you next Tuesday, with brownies for dessert.

5. Who would win in a break-neck, all-goes fight between bindo and Val?

I’m going with Val. I have a feeling she knows how to throw elbows. Bindo would get distracted by something depressing and write a wonderful poem about it, though.

6. Who let the dogs out? And what the hell was up with all the coconut in the Bahamas?

You let the dogs out, just the same way that you lost your room key and foolishly thought that, because we spent thousands of dollars to go on a trip together, I wanted to spend time with you. As far as the coconuts go, I didn’t see them. I was more impressed with all the men in speedos, which I don’t think you noticed because you hadn’t hit puberty yet.

7. Don’t you secretly wish you had a Blackberry Curve instead of dinky iPhone?

Never. All your readers who have iPhones should download the free App “words with friends” and challenge me, PoeticGrin, to a battle.

1. How do you define crumptiousness?

2. How do you plan to make the holidays gloomy?

3. When you give a little, do you take a lot more?

4. If a soda goes flat, is it dead?

5. Do the glue pads really work to catch rodents?

SOB with me

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