Hello April Showers,
The snow is beating a hasty retreat with all the rain and warm temperatures. As people are thinking of warmth and gardens and summer, I dream of cold, high places. Hmm–I may have to do something about that someday but then again, since I see lying on a beach as akin to torture, maybe I’ll stick to mountains.
I missed my first group hike with the Kili group yesterday because I landed at 4:00 am with no sleep. I’d had a whirlwind visit to Mankato, Minnesota. I was there to receive a distinguished alumni award. I pursued my master’s degree there in 1990-01 and I found it hard to believe that 17 years had gone by. The festivities were fun and I enjoyed getting to meet many students on the campus.
The highlight the three days was spending time with my mom, my friend, Kellian Clink, and my graduate degree advisors, Jasper Hunt and Leo McAvoy. For the gala banquet, I had had the pants of my suit professionally shortened this time so there was no last minute panic to find a stapler. (In July 2006, I was invited to dinner with the Governor General of Canada and discovered at the last minute that my pants were too long so after we considered twenty options, we turned to the “stapler and marker plan.”)
At a luncheon for student leaders, the honourees were asked to share some advice with the students. I spoke about the importance of aiming high and risking disappointment. Another spoke of remembering to recognize the people on whose shoulders we stand. Since then, I’ve spent some time thinking about that. Many people asked my mom what she and my dad did to have me turn out the way I did.
Mom said, “I don’t really know. We did the best we could to support her dreams all the way through.” I would agree that’s what they did. In the acknowledgments section of my book, I wrote, “First, I want to thank my parents, Heinz and Denise, for their love, patience, and ability to set worry aside so I could follow my dreams. They nurtured my strength and determination by supporting my many passions from climbing to judo to photography to waterskiing.” I stand on the shoulders of my parents and their parents. I also stand on the shoulders of my teachers and mentors. Friends. Supporters. Those women who first went adventuring and climbing: Junko Tabai, Alexander David-Neel, Sharon Wood….
I stand on yours and, hopefully you stand on mine. I aim to be both supporter and supported. Speaking of books and support, I did my first book signing yesterday at Costco. I enjoyed seeing some friends and meeting and talking to some other folks. I’m looking forward to the official launch this Thursday (again, please consider yourself invited 5:30-7:30 GEO centre). As people I have been reading the book, they’ve been writing to let me know they are enjoying it-that’s been wonderful to hear and helped ease my “parental” anxiety at sending my “baby” out into the world.
It’s Everest season again and I’m watching as the teams have just begun their first forays into the Khumbu icefall. As expected, my feelings run the gamut as I remember what it was like to be there a year ago and as I imagine the path that will take me there again. Though now, I’m more aware of the path that will take me near the equator and back to Africa. We’re on a six-week countdown to Kilimanjaro and it’s time to narrow my focus to gear, clothing, and training for the roof of Africa. I can see challenges to this focus in the next few weeks as I have frequent travel, book signings, and presentations scheduled.
I realize I also stand on the shoulders of routine. It’s much easier for me to train when the week unfolds with a predictable rhythm and I can see where it all fits. So, there will be some “high-stakes” practice over the next while to stay the course and keep mindful in the face of competing needs.
Hope all is well with you,