Wednesday, March 24

The Ones Left Behind: An Essay by Alan Arnette

Hi All
I met Allan while he was with Jamie's expedition on Shisha back in 2007. A great guy, good cause and great raconteur. This essay gives an interesting insight as to what is going on in the Hose household at present...

Climbers from all over the world are deep in thought as they go through the final stages for Everest 2010. The deepest thoughts may be reserved for the ones left behind.

The climbers stare at their gear, probably all laid out on the spare bedroom floor. They stand there visualizing each part of the climb – sleeping at 23,000′, trekking to base camp, adding a layer in howling winds.

The sharp crampon spikes and ice axe absorb an extra long look. The goggles, the huge down mittens, water bottles and a thermos. What is all this stuff?

Standing supportively nearby, another stare takes hold. Will all this keep them warm, protect those fingers, the touch. Holding hands while walking on the grass.

Climbers are anxious. Will I be strong enough, tough enough, skilled enough when the times comes? Will the weather hold on summit night? Have I trained hard enough?

Others also wonder. Will I be strong enough, patient enough when the time comes. I have I said everything I needed to say; wanted to say?

The drive to the airport is like a first date.

The hug last forever but not long enough. The look in the eyes says it all. The climber walks through the door, alone just pulling the duffels; the small pack on their back.

Driving home, the tear forms. Slowly falling down the cheek. Rub it away or let it sit? The tear stays; for a while. Traffic is a blur, The radio plays that song but it is not heard.

Day one of sixty has begun.

As the jet gains altitude, the climber looks out the small window for cars on the highway, maybe it is there. Then the clouds move in.

Climbers know what each day is like. They share the cold, the hunger, the pain in their lungs; and their hearts with teammates. They know the unknown.

Back home, the unknown is a mystery. Days go by with no information. No news is good news, they were told. But no news creates demons.

Then the phone rings, the computer beeps and all is well. Contact again. Smiles, a laugh, a tear of happiness. The team is together, focused on one goal.

A moment of clarity. The unknown is known. A deep breath. Then the silence returns as the connection ends.

The next day is one more closer to the last day.

Climb On!

Alan Arnette

1 comment:

  1. I see you're off today Mark. Best of luck this year, I look forward to following along when you can post.


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