In Memory of Francys Arsentieve

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Mount Everest
Prologue: I wrote this diary without knowing there was also a secondary prompt doing so. After posting the diary on DailyKos, as well as my website, I realized there was something else that should have been mentioned, but I didn’t think of it at the time. That short abstract follows. . .

I have always been fascinated with Nepal and Tibet and those lordly granitic giants that make up the whole of the so-named Hindu Kush. Many years ago, when I first visited Nepal, my doing so was quite by accident. In fact, I contracted cholera when I was in India, and by the time I realized how sick I was, I couldn’t finish my global backpacking odyssey. And so, I booked a flight to Nepal and sensed that would be where my sojourn would end, temporally, but not eternally. That story is told in the preceding posting under the heading, Rich’s Musings. What I want to mention, as an anecdote is that I sensed my compassion for Francys Arsentieve, and her death on Mt. Everest, is somehow tied to my near death experience in Nepal, only ‘near’ turned out to be a misnomer. When I was almost well enough to continue my world-flight adventure on Pan Am, I made a trek to that big mountain and paid money for what amounted to a tent and breakfast/dinner set up at Base Camp 1, and was run by a Nepalese family who lived in the Gandaki Zone where another towering and awe-inspiring mountain rise above the fractured terrain, the Annapurna Massif. That trek was in the very early 1980s. Nearly twenty years later, Francys and her husband, Sergi, would also stay at Base Camp 1, as do all climbers and hikers, then over many days of altitude accumulation (spending time at each successive base camp), they would trek to the summit without oxygen, then attempt their way back down through the Death Zone sector. Of course, they didn’t make it. But I did survive death, and I went to Mt. Everest to give my thanks for having the sense to come to Nepal, from India, and end my sojourn there rather than some other place. For me, my sojourn began anew; for Francys and Sergi so did their respective sojourns. The difference, of course, was my sojourn continued temporally while theirs continues eternally.

Anyway, this morning, I realized all this, and, for me, it makes this diary’s posting, even more, special and meaningful.

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