November 12th, 2009: Day 7 of Circuit
Today was a long cold day through a lonely desolate landscape. We are now well into a different ecosystem- our green summer paradise has morphed into a brown arctic tundra.
My day began real early, I was sitting on the steps of a monastery high upon the mountain of Pisang, waiting for the sun to rise. By the time it finally rose though I was so frozen I had no interest in sticking around longer than a few moments to admire the colors. Back at the guest house I enjoyed some nice Nepali tea and conversation with fellow travelers and began the days’ lengthy journey towards Manang.
At first I was accompanied by a friendly bunch of Dutch, Spanish and Americans. I met them yesterday, and I like them alot. Our energy reciprocates nicely and I feel like it’d be good to spend more time with them. But it’s strange, because I often feel that on this highway of life, the traveler can’t attach too tightly to others. You hang on loosely, you walk together for a while– and for the time that conversation/itineraries are mutually desirable/aligned you get to enjoy each other’s presence. I don’t know if this is the way things really are, but as a solo traveler I’m always hesitant to stick around longer than I feel welcomed.
Anyhow, w e all started off together, but for the above reason, I soon found myself walking by myself. Everyone else was distant scattered dots on the zigazzing path along this brown lifeless valley. It was a vast empty landscape that brought Rocky Mountain desert to mind. Just barren hills with patches of sage and short pine trees. As the day progressed, a mean wind began blowing through these hills and as I walked along tired I felt myself leaning towards melancholy. I kept checking the map to ensure I was still on the right track, since it’d been several hours since I’d last seen signs of life.
I wanted to take a break, but more than that I wanted to arrive at my destination. I knew the peace and warmth would only be achieved once I make it to Manang. And so I walked hour after hour with spirit dragging. The only consolation is that we are now quite close to the Annapurnas and I found myself smiling every time I’d look up and take notice of the massive blocks of stone jutting upwards to the heavens.
Near the end of the day snowflakes begin falling. I hold out my hand and catch a few of them and then watch them dissolve. I find myself thinking about how the travelers you meet on the road are a lot like snowflakes. These beautiful unique people– they arrive into my life just for a short while and then they pass on just as spontaneously. Another lesson in impermanence, perhaps. Enjoy the good people you meet while you can.