It's 8:46 PM right now, I've been up since 5PM today, I went to bed at 1:30 AM last night and finally got up at 5PM; I guess I needed that much sleep. When I arrived at the Airport in Las Vegas, Debbie was there to meet me at the baggage claim; I was worried because she had a lot on her mind with the passing of Jeff her brother, and not having seen me for almost a month, that's a lot. That sparkling smile lit up my heart just to see her; I think I heard music in the sky when I saw her.
She was there waiting, with a big smile, I can only imagine what it must be like to have a mix of emotions; glad on one hand to see you, and sad on the other to have lost someone close who you love dearly. We waited for my bag, the one large red North Face Duffel bag, but it never came, finally a representative from Virgin America came and ushered me into the small office to tell me that most likely the bag was seized by customs, this is normal. I filled out the paper work, didn't put up a fuss, I was too tired and just went with whatever she said was going to happen next. The agent noticed how agreeable I was and said, "you must be tired..." "most customers are annoyed at this point." I said yes, you can probably tell me anything and I would agree to it right now. She smiled, and after signing the paperwork, she said my bags will be delivered to my house in a couple of hours.
The bags arrived at almost midnight, again, I am too tired to be annoyed, though I was up watching a mindless TV program that really showed off how bad some TV programs can really get, I signed for my bag, and shoved the 50lb bundle through the door, and sat down to pretend to watch the rest of the TV program I was not watching.
Once I awakened at 5PM, I knew I had the task of unlocking my red duffel and begin the process of extracting the tightly packed items onto the tile floor and sorting things out. Ordinarily I would find this task frustrating, and unsatisfying, but at this moment I did not; it was something to do that didn't require a lot of decision making, just pull it out, look at it, smell it, and decide if it needed to be washed, or could it go back on the shelf. Theoretically, everything should be washed, but practically, if it doesn't smell like Yak, it needn't be washed and use up precious resources.
The door bell rang, but I didn't get to it until a couple of minutes after the ring, by the time I arrived no one was at the door, but a package had been left. A box, with the name "Shari's Berries" was written on it. I opened it and it was a box of special chocolates with a note from my friend Sallie Nostwhich in Ames, Iowa, it said, "Welcome home, Glen! You did it! Enjoy and indulge. Love, Sallie." Sallie and I go back a ways, she's like the sister I never had, and she has taught me a lot over the years, and if anyone can edit and comment on my writing, she's the one that can and has taught me the most about writing. I hope to get a reprieve here, since 99% of this Blog was written on an iPhone, with frozen hands too fat to hit just a single letter at times, and most often written on my back under the covers in 20-degree weather. She's a sweetheart, and can be a tiger if she needs to be; she's a special blend of love and kindness.
It's now 9:24 PM, the backpacks, the duffel bags, and boots are in the garage, and the kitchen counter is littered with lots of little items that are more confusing to put away than the larger items; medicine, paperwork, batteries, etc. I went out to get a coffee at Starbucks just to break up the decision making activity with the counter items, and to drive my own car just to be doing something different. Back at home I look at the Yak Bell I bought, and thought, I missed my opportunity to get the genuine Yak smell on it by putting it around a Yak's neck for a few minutes so I could say that it had actually been on a Yak, and not from some vendor who had dozens of them that smelled like new. My next best thing was to go find Buddy, one of our three cats and let Buddy wear it and take his picture. OK, so it doesn't have Yak smell to it, but it does have a four-legged creature smell to it now; I don't think Buddy was too happy, but he did let me get the picture below.
You know how I said in a previous post that I had no desire to do the 29,034 ft Summit of Everest; well, I'm not so sure now that I would say never. With a little bit of rest, and a little time to reflect today, my mind has changed; I could do it, but it would require some additional training, but I know I could accomplish it. I'm not saying that I just put it on the list, I'm just contradicting what I said before that I would not want to do it. With a little rest, the possibilites of what you can do become more clearly aligned. I'm not afraid of what I have not done, or what I wish I could do, in fact wishing has been taken out of the equation, it's not about wishing anymore, it's about doing. Like Yoda said to Luke Skywalker, "No try, just do." All wishes can be eliminated with "doing," then they no longer are wishes, they are accomplishments no matter how many times you must attempt them to reach the goal. Will I think about summiting Everest? I really don't know; but I'm not afraid now to try. This is what this adventure gifted me, the fearlessness to try, even when afraid if that makes sense. Fearlessness doesn't mean you don't get afraid, it means you won't let fear stop you.
I'm happy to be home, and I'm sad to be away from the experiences of distant journeys, but I'm more at home with me now. I started this journey at 4am on December 4th, 2011. I awakened in bed from a restless sleep thinking about being out of shape, and not feeling fully alive. I remember saying to myself, "I need something bigger than me to motivate me." It was right then and there lying in bed that I said the words, "Mt. Everest Base Camp," before I knew anything about it, before I knew it was possible to trek to such a place, before I knew what I was getting myself into. Debbie asked me in the middle of the night why I wasn't sleeping, and it was then and there that I told her what I was going to commit too. The response I got was normal from Debbie, "you've never hiked since I've known you, and really never done anything like this...," but she said it with support, and not criticism for I think she believed in me even if I didn't know what I was saying. I remember these events because I got up and wrote the date, time and the commitment down, then went back to bed satisfied that I found something so big, that it was going to require a lifestyle change which I had been seeking.
The last post is hard to write, the above ramblings cannot express all of the experience; the days ahead will have to open up new thought channels that will allow me to put some meaning to it. The people, the team, the Sherpas, and Porters, the Yaks, the physical body, memories and the climate, will have to be eventually stored away and accessed from time to time as a reminder that the goal has been accomplished, and that I'm more than my thoughts, more than my attitude, that I am potential unrealized, and that age, color, and any other label cannot define me if I so choose; I am potential.
To my Brother-in-law Jeff, again, I dedicate this experience to him with pleasure. Jeff may have left us in body, but I believe he's still with us in spirit, and he's OK now.
Thanks to all of you who have read the Blog along the way, I tried to share as much as I could when able too. I'm blessed with so many friends, so many relationships, I realize I have so much, much more than I could have ever imagined; for that realization, I realize how rich I really am.
Buddy and his "Yak Bell"