Posted on April 26, 2014
There has been a bit of a hiatus in our blog posting – sorry about that. Sometimes the days, from dawn till dusk, and frequently beyond the spread of darkness, become full. Creating space is not always simple, or when it happens it can be so relieving that it allows for real stilling of the mind, a true pause, and does not necessarily result in a blog.
During the last month our eyes and minds have been drawn eastwards. Anyone who has linked in to Facebook or Kickstarter will have seen Rob’s posts and pictures from Nepal, where he has been walking in the hills. He has referred to it as strolling, but that’s far from accurate. Rob has been doing the job of a porter – one of the many men (and a handful of women) who carry loads up and down the mountain trails, mostly in support of treks and tourism. On his back, day after day, he has been carrying just over 30kg. Definitely more than the average aeroplane will let you take on without a surcharge.
After a 12 day trek, which followed a four day walk to get to the trail head, Rob has now become a ‘retired porter’. His wage, when converted to UK sterling, is around £84. He has worn the same pair of trousers every day, struggled through a couple of days of sickness, witnessed his legs turn into sinewy sticks, watched the sun set on Everest from five-and-a-half-thousand metres and probably had a hunger on him like never before. He has been walking with other porters and Sherpas, seeing the trail from a perspective very few westerners can ever take.
With the terrible loss of life on Everest recently, and the impact this has had on the climbing season, thousands of eyes and minds that would seldom consider the life and livelihoods of Sherpas have now turned eastward, and the airwaves are buzzing with stories, debate and discussion. Much of this curiosity will no doubt take in consideration for the porters, without whom none of the enterprise, tourism, climbing and day-to-day life in the hills would or could happen. I for one am eager to find out what Rob has to say when he returns: what he has learnt, what he has filmed, the images he has taken.
And while he has been out East, I have been feeling the Spring roll gracefully into the northwest, seeing the same moon wax to fullness and then wane, and feeling the same sun bring real heat onto my back as I set new life into soil, and watch blossom make way for the burst of new leaves. It has been a long month, this April. A season shift that I think feels protracted as it also brings in larger change, with many new beginnings, and the i-porter film will be just one of these.
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Treading the spaces in between
Folding in the land: a 7-day walk between treefolds
... slowed down and marinated until the textures of bigger things are revealed
The Pace of Life: Slowing Down and Creating Legacies