You Would Never Listen

Sleep like a star in the sky,
Your glow,
Frozen in flight,
/
Where it’s cold, mortally cold,
Where it’s cold
Forever
/
Don’t be afraid of the wind –
It won’t pierce you,
/
Don’t be afraid of the snow –
It won’t hide
/
You from the heart, which continues
To love you
/
Or from the eyes, which still search
For your light
/
Fear not the ice for soon
You’ll become like it,
/
Solid yet frail under the touch
Of warmth,
/
Fear not the rocks, which, like you,
Rest suspended
/
In capsules of time till they
Suddenly fall
/
Dread not my voice or the words
I am saying,
/
Breathe through the pain
They inspire in you;
/
This lullaby is for those,
Already sleeping,
/
I let you hear it
Only because I knew
/
You would
Never listen

I Remember

I recall the scent of autumn in the sky…
I remember how the wind sang of hope…
Rocks, changing their shapes in the sun…
Mountain springs, equally present and gone…
I remember how it felt
To survive;
/
On that day I was light, water and wind,
Speaking their language — body and mind,
Crying shamelessly and wildly when I
Heard them whisper: “you are not a mistake”;
I remember how it felt
To be alive;
/
I remember reaching the Earth’s
Very burning heart with my fingertips;
My eyes being one with the sun,
I could see without attachment;
I remember
Being loved
/
That day was pure joy
Beyond good and evil –
That one day
Could fill a whole life with meaning;
The day that I stepping over
Oblivion
/
And awakened
From a crumbling dream

Everest 2013

Looking 'a little' tired on the summit of Everest
Looking ‘a little’ tired on the summit of Everest

It has been almost a year since the day I posted an article here called Everest 2012. I still remember typing it up, smiling nervously, happily and incredulously at the title. I’d climbed and trekked like a maniac and worked days and nights, earning the nickname ‘Red Bull Didi’, to pay the astronomical expedition invoice. Once I clicked ‘Publish’, my impossible dream to scale the world’s highest mountain became a daily struggle not to get crushed by the experience.

I lived and breathed Chomolungma for a year – all for 20 minutes on the summit. When the expedition was over, and I returned to Kathmandu, the colorful photo from the top of the world and many beautifully rich memories were all I had left. It felt like all my happiness, everything I could ever accomplish, all the love and passion I had in my heart – all stayed there, on Everest, in the past. One of the most heartbreaking thoughts of my life was the one that crossed my mind when I sat by the summit prayer flags, touching The Dream with my hands of flesh and blood: ‘this is the one place I will never come back to; I will never want anything as much as I wanted this – and have it, and hold it, and have to let it go. This is it!’

In spite of coming close to dying on descent, a week after my return to Kathmandu, I wished for nothing more than a chance to be on Chomolungma again. Training for the climb and subsequently being on the mountain had made me a different person – a person I liked. If my newly-developed qualities were to survive, I had to continue challenging myself even more, if possible. There is no greater challenge on this planet that I can think of than climbing Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen, and so I return to The Mountain this spring. I wish to give Mother-Goddess of the World what I keenly feel I owe Her: my gratitude, but also my life, – for her to give back to me, ever more worth living, or to keep on her airless, icy slopes.

According to this article (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/everest/blog/2012-05-18/to-os-or-not-to-os)from last year, over 3500 people have climbed Everest, 5% of them – without the use of supplemental oxygen. Another article (http://www.mounteverest.net/story/Everest2005WomenonTopMar232005.shtml) from 2005 says that ‘about 90 women have summited Everest so far, but only three of them did it without oxygen. They were New Zealander Lydia Bradey in 1988, British Alison Hargreaves in 1995, and American Francys Arsentiev in 1998. Sadly, Francys died on descent.’ I imagine, by now there must have been over 100 ascents of Chomolungma by female climbers, and definitely a third successful climb without O2 by Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner in 2010.

Do I stand a chance? No. However, I can and will try my absolute best, as always. If there’s any life left in me after the attempt, whether failed or successful, I will return to Everest base camp, rest for a few days, and, weather and health permitting, climb back up – to Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain at 8516 meters. Is there so much as a remote possibility of me pulling this off – any part of it, not to mention the whole undertaking? Hardly. This is a very unrealistic plan, with, perhaps, only a 5% chance of success, and even survival being… rather uncertain. These are not great odds, but they are good enough for me – an average person with dreams not fit for such. Cursed as I am with my unbridled imagination like Albert Camus’ Sisyphus is with his rock, I can’t help climbing and falling back, and climbing, and falling, over and over again.

Drop by if you would like to follow my preparation for the climb, which will undoubtedly be by far the hardest I have ever attempted, or simply the last.

Love,

Mila