Friday, March 31, 2006

Joyce recently wrote:

At 80, when a film about Ruth Duckworth (a German Jew who fled to England to become an artist) was done, she said, "If you're still afraid at 80, that's bad luck."

I would add that if you're still afraid at 80, you probably just haven't been paying a whole lot of attention as life has rolled by.

Which made me write this:

In 1922, one of the first British expeditions to climb Everest approached the mountain from the Tibetan aside. The climbers brought hundreds of porters and twice as many pack animals. The Rimpoche of the monastery up in the hills below Everest did not want to meet with the climbers, but was pressured to do so by the Tibetan government. He claimed that the very idea of meeting the Europeans made him physically ill. But he did agree to meet them and allow them to stay in the area around the monastery. Many contemplative people resided in shelters and caves in and around the valley of the monastary, meditating for months and years on end. Many of them were aged people meditating on their fate. Once a day monks would carry water and barley gruel to the caves, and the climbers would see nothing more of these people than their pale hands reaching humbly out for their rations, trying to avoid even the sun. The Rimpoche demanded that the Gurkha general accompanying the expedition refrain from hunting in the valley, for, as the visitors saw, all of the animals were absolutely without fear of humans. The mountain goats and wild birds calmly wandered and flew among the expedition during their stay.

John F.

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