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Day 40. This Moment (October 10, 2010)

Current Position
Position Date: 2010-10-10 08:10:02
Position Latitude: 28.0056
Position Longitude: 86.8579

With over 40 days since I left home and several weeks until I return, I am at that weird point in the expedition where all my other life starts to fade away. Whatever other existence I lived no longer has utility here. My hopes, dreams and future plans still exist, they are just tucked safely away. My attention is devoted to only this moment. Maria, unfortunately, faces the brunt of this condition - although I suspect she experiences some similar emotions. Time for me now is only a series of instants.

I might feel a little more melancholy about my situation if I hadn't experienced this so many times before. Both in the Arctic and Antarctic, a weird calm settles over my psyche around day 40. With few other distractions, it is just you and your mind. My physical and mental energy shift into survival mode as the disconnect between my life on the expedition and the rest of the world grows.

Please have some fun for me, but don't tell me about it right now. I don't want to know.

Tshering and I continue to explore the differences in our cultures. Supermarkets, parking lots, laundry There is no real beginning, end or purpose in our discussions, we are simply connecting the dots between opposite sides of the planet. In understanding how we are different, we are, in the same instant, finding common ground.

I spent some time the other day thinking about all the things that expeditions have taught me. There are a lot of lessons to be learned out here, but they are rarely written in black and white. Decisions, I have learned, sometimes unfold slowly. It would have been easy let my sore back dictate the outcome of our climb. Instead, my wait and see philosophy paid off. Time can be as much of a friend as an enemy.

My senses, still have not dulled to the grandeur of this place. Each loud rumbling sends me racing outside the tent looking for the slow motion cascade of snow, ice and rock. Avalanches are as regular as clockwork here, yet their force continues to capture my attention. At night, I listen to the loud cracks and pops triangulating the sound to determine, in my mind, exactly which piece of ice is fracturing.

I have developed a new hobby, if that is possible here. For, the past couple days, I have been hiking into Gorakshep and watching all the trekkers coming and going. It is an interesting contrast to my life at base camp, and if nothing else, uses several hours of my afternoon. After an hour or so, put on my pack and head back to base camp. Sun setting, alpine glow, narrow trail. There are rarely any trekkers left and my mind drifts serenely enjoying each step.

To learn more about the ongoing climate debate, please read 'Not Just a Number: Why 350 is the Key to the Global Climate Crisis' By Matt Vespa and Kevin Bundy of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute

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