Memory…this is life

night himalayas

As I stepped out of the door, I was surprised by the silence. I must have fallen asleep. The wind and the ice were fiercely howling most of the evening, so I expected to brace myself when I went out. It was bitter cold and I was still achy and feverish. There was a bright moon that night and everything around me was white and vast.

I could see it standing in the distance. I was so cold I could barely move. Walking out, the boards creaked heavily and I could hear them rustling below; the family outhouse was suspended right over their pen. I stooped down, steading myself on the simple wooden planks with wide spacing between them. Everything felt surreal.

I remember thinking, this is someone's life.


I'm always imagining what it's like to live a different life. Looking back, it feels like I've lived many and tried on even more. It sometimes seems like a dream, my time in the Himalayas. Backpacking through places so isolated and remote it's hard to believe that people live their whole lives there. The mountains that surround them are their universe. They have generations behind them and an eternity ahead. Many of them will never see beyond their valley.

Last night I watched this documentary on a woman living alone in Siberia's vast Taiga. She was born in the wilderness, survived her whole family eventually dying, and then chose to stay there alone. The film follows her days, her thoughts, her existence.

After watching, I stood in the dark, hot shower letting the running water pour over me as I stared out the window into the dark hills. I could see the dim lights of houses across the way, each one holding it's own existence, it's own world. One of them caught my eye. That is someone's life.

Sometimes it is all too much to think about, the luck, the karma, the forces that brought you to this life, your life, whatever that is.

"There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one."

This is my life. This is life.