It was a time for quest. I suppose I thought if I climbed high enough, I would find peace, or perhaps it was escape I was looking for, and, at times, I did. We lived as native people. I actually thought I had brown skin and eyes, until one day I looked in a mirror and was shocked at blue eyes and blonde hair. I was so sure I was a native, that I could blend in with Nepalese and Tibetans though they didn't see me as the same. I had one shower in a month, and that was because a young man felt guilty over his gambling and used his winnings to pay for me to stand in a box where the hot water left over from washing the lunch dishes was poured over my head. It was the only time I was fully undressed in the month, and the smell was pretty ripe when I pulled off my clothes, but then, we all smelled and we lived outdoors where smell is welcomed and absorbed.
I think of the times I feel I've changed. One was when my father died in an accident when I was 19. Certainly I was changed by marriage and my two sons and their marriages. But the six weeks in Nepal, four of them in the Everest region of Nepal, were mine, totally mine. I slept in a tent alone, reduced, reduced as close to death as one can come. My breath stopped at one point, and I thought I'd gone too far. I crawled, literally crawled to the altitude sickness clinic, where a handsome young doctor lectured me on the dangers of being where I was.
I was changed by my mother's death, changed when we scattered her ashes, and saw gold flakes shape and filter up into the trees.
I feel changed once again by this with Katy. I can't define what's happened, but I know something has. It's like rounding a corner. Who am I now, and does it matter? I remember one day realizing that, "Nothing, matters." Nothing, whatever it is or isn't, matters too. I sit here tonight without explanation, knowing I am changed.