April 16, 2014

mountain man

Daniel didn't even tell me about the trip. He simply said, "No, I better not," to his buddies and tried not to give it another thought.

But on the Thursday before the trip, he ran into one of the guys who was going, and he heard the delicious details. Words like flint, oxygen, summit, base camp; Daniel's gut ached to be a part.

So he came home and told me about the trip he wasn't going on.

"Why did you say 'no' to a trip like that?" I asked.

"I can't go," he said emphatically, even as his voice simmered with uncertainty and hope. He was searching my face for a reaction. "I've been gone too much lately. And you've been so swamped here with the kids."

I said nothing.

"You're not saying anything, and that's making it worse. Just tell me I shouldn't go. I need someone to tell me I shouldn't go."

"Well you're not going to hear it from me," I said from where I stood, dishrag in hand. "Because I think you should go."

He lost ten years in two seconds, nearly leaping across the room for his cell phone to call his friends. I couldn't quit smiling.

That was last Thursday. Yesterday, a chapped, glowing husband with a four-day beard came through my door with a swollen shin, a sack of dirty clothes, and loads breathtaking pictures. Between acclimating at a mountain hostel, gawking at yaks, stone jumping at icy crossings, making camp by a frozen mountain lake, watching the moon rise, watching the sun rise, and standing victoriously at 14,000 feet (and getting a 3G signal from the clouds with which to call home and shout, "I'm at the top of the world" at the top of his lungs) I'd say Daniel was dang glad he went.

Moral of the story? When you've got the chance to summit a Himalayan peak with a handful of people who mean a lot to you, you might want to say yes.