A spirit has awakened me.
At the wee hours, I stare up at the dark ceiling of my basement dwelling, squinting for some sign of life. But all I see is a starless sky; it offers no direction for the journey.
The constellations and North Star are up there somewhere, though hidden by a blanket of clouds. Navigation seems impossible until the sky clears.
So, do I stay put, at basecamp, in the basement? I blink into the purple haze, listening for an answer.
I'd barely gotten rolling on my cross-country journey, in June, when, whapp, the tether of responsibility yanked me back home.
Who keeps me here? I pound my mattress and let out a guttural cry.
The heat of rebellion rises beneath my thin sheet.
I will not remain forever, birth to death.
But when can I go, and where?
I’m starved for answers. I’m losing time. I kickoff my tangled bed covers.
Cousin Jonny Copp enters my mind. I glimpse the weathered face of an adventurer, the broad grin and sparkling eyes of a sprite. Further back in my memory, I see the Buddha baby boy he was when we first met, Auntie's living room his Adventureland.
From intrepid toddler to world renowned speed climber, Jonny traversed continents scaling virgin peaks, light and agile, always on the move.
Though he got stuck at basecamp, too, in the valley of an ancient Tibetan peak he was set to conquer. The fog rolled in and hung there, a thick cloak. He couldn’t see feet in front of him. Several attempts at ascent, ice ax in hand, were thwarted, and he and he crew had to retreat and wait and wait.
To pass the time, Jonny played his flute, a happy jig that got them dancing, hunched over in their tent. The thunder of mini-avalanches resounded through the night. Until, eventually, the walls of snow gave way around them. He and his team were buried alive, there, at the foot of Mount Edgar, basecamp their grave.
I’m sorry, Cousin Jonny. You're with me in spirit, tonight. Listen to my pleas.
I won’t be trapped at basecamp. It’s a big wide world, and you know it; you’ve seen it; you died exploring it.
Please send me a message. Tell me why I'm here. Tell me that the sky will clear.
I stand at the threshold, ready to make the most of this one precious life.
Guide me, wise cousin, out of the basement into the light.
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