I feel like my Everest experience was a do nothing failure. The reality is I was a part of history. Everest will never be quite the same because of the April 18th avalanche.
Life this past week went really slowly. That's a good thing. The hours just seemed to tick by slower than usual. My view is, time going slowly is my mind's way of appreciating my life that much more than usual. I've been a little mesmerized by grass this past week. After spending six weeks in a dry vegetation-poor place, grass is such a luxury, and we keep it so well cut!
I've been keeping my presence back fairly quiet. (As quiet as someone in the newspapers with a blog and Twitter account ever does.) So many people want to talk, and I want to talk with them, but it's tiring. I have to pace myself, like a marathon. It is very strange for me because after every other one of dozens of climbs, there was no media, no attention. A couple times in college I would solo Mt. Washington in winter and not a single person would ask me about it, most probably never knew. On the other hand, go to Mt. Everest, drink hot chocolate while 16 people died two miles away, and everyone wants to know about it. I guess they are very different, but to me a climb on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire has many of the same risks and rewards as Mt. Everest. I suppose this experience is a little amusing to me because everyone's reaction is so different than every other time. Two years ago three of us from Dubuque were in a thunderstorm on top of Devils tower in Wyoming. One of the three didn't even tell his parents.
I'm back. If anyone wants to go running, I'm averaging slower than 8 minute miles now, and my mileage is lower than normal. Same for bicycle riding and rock climbing. Or I suppose, if anyone has questions about some castings or my other engineering projects I'm in the office.
Even though I feel my blog posts reek of pessimism, I am really happy to be back. I have a smile on my face. I'm alive, I have my fingers and toes, and I have time to ponder everything that happened and figure out what is next. I am really fortunate to have the family, friends and opportunities I have. If it seems like I space off and day dream at all this summer, or more than normal, it is because I am appreciating my life, my health, my wealth and all the little things I get complacent with and take for granted, like freshly cut grass. I have the best life in the world. I hope you think the same about your life (but mine's better).