Well, I guess the universe really conspires to help you when you really want something.
The days and nights were getting colder as I was making steady progress toward the summit. Each day welcomed me with its own challenges and – always – surprising strength to overcome it. The night before the summit came after a short yet strenuous day. It looked like not many from the group were up for making the attempt to reach the top. They reached their own ‘summits’ already. A small group of daredevils was shaping up. Each driven by own unspoken motives and desires. Each with an intimate meaning. I was still debating with myself to overcome my fear of not disappointing those who decided to go. I must have looked a bit overwhelmed by the choice I was facing. My trek mate – and fast becoming best friend – even asked me if I would be ok if he went in case I decided against it. There was never slight doubt in his query. As the closest witness of my silently occurring transformation, he was perhaps not fully certain how to handle me just yet.
The night was short, sleepless and very cold. The boots were frozen so were my feet and it all looked like a really crazy idea. The garlic soup tasted bizarre at three-in-the-morning. The five of us commenced incredible journey within a journey. The sun welcomed us after three hours of walk and brought much anticipated touch of warmth. We could see the peak ahead of us like an iceberg awaiting the newcomers.
Unstoppably with heavy gasps for air, fighting only own limitations, being pushed by some strong force, pulling myself on the ropes and with an axe towards the goal, I got to the top at 11:30 am. I am not able to describe the immense feeling of accomplishment shared with just a few, and thanks to them. Standing and absorbing the panoramic view of the mountains while silently knowing that my life would never be the same again. It got altered forever. I will never forget the shine of the sun and snow, the sparkles in our eyes, this awesome feeling offered just to select few.
The sun was still high when we had to start descending to meet the rest of the group awaiting us at the lower camp. The weather started to change rapidly as nature was reminding us of its power, with surrounding clouds and vapor making more difficult to dissent. Tied to the ropes, we commenced a long walk down making sure nobody loses the sight of the path.
The mountains teach humility and respect. At the end, it is not about climbing the summit as it is about the return…and learning how to embrace unexpected encounters. Similarly in life, some of us never reach the ‘summit’ as we give up too early, while others – those who actually do – become too overwhelmed by the experience so they never leave that ‘summit’. Some others – on the way down – lose the strength and courage to approach the next one when it emerges. Only few learn how to allocate the energy and resources, how to respect possible limitations and detours, how to find strength in inner wisdom while learning from errors before they become mistakes – and to continue towards the direction of set target on their life journey.
I learned that when I collapsed of exhaustion and temporary limitation to what my body and my mind could do when faced with physical strain. An uncontrollable and hysterical cry was accompanied by an immediate worry about the others and holding them back. Twenty minutes later, a wave of emotion had passed as if was needed to be expelled from my body in such an immediate form. Pushing against nature, fatigue and quickly approaching darkness, descending through an ever changing landscape, asking for strength to walk down in an unharmed fashion. Then, cheers mixed with tears and ovation welcomed our arrival at the camp. As much as I wanted to share the experience of last 18 hours, I also wanted to protect those memories so nobody could steal them away from me.
The last day of the trek took us slowly back to Kathmandu with the last night under the stars filled with dancing, singing and laughter which echoed through the mountains along with the celebration of life, friendship and our triumph.
Next morning’s breakfast was rushed, with nervousness present in the air. Quickly zipping up our bags and abruptly packing away the new life that just begun…
The taxi cabs arrived and so the time to say goodbye. As people started to depart, emotions were getting strong and I could not really process them neither the pain I felt. What could it all mean and what was I supposed to do now?
Seeing the cabs leave one by one like in a slow motion movie, an excruciating agony was passing through my body and my soul. My journey back home was about to start within the next twelve hours and it was scheduled to last three days. What I did not fully comprehend then, was that I had just started a voyage to meet my destiny.