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this week has been loads of fun, visiting my brother and sister-in-law in boulder. we've trekked through snow, camped a bit, climbed a lot, and indulged in nepali food. tonight is a throwback to my days in california, however, as we await further news of the nearby boulder dome wildfire. i clearly remember seeing the smoke rising over anaheim hills, seeing ash on the cars after work, smelling the fire in the air, marveling at the eerily red sunset. tonight, we see smoke coming from the canyon behind the house and fire on Anemone. no need to worry -- mandatory evacuation has NOT reached their block (& probably won't). it's still a strange and humbling experience to watch this powerful force of nature that humans have very limited power to control.


sitting in Brooklyn on my first Sunday morning back, admiring the sun playing on the trees across the street that stubbornly hold onto too-green-for-October leafs, i'm enjoying being awake before the throngs. true, that's a little grander than the reality since Park Slope sleeps in on Sunday mornings, but i still enjoy the stillness of an autumnal Sunday morning.
i bade Delhi farewell as the fireworks of the Commonwealth Games' Closing Ceremonies blasted. it seemed a fitting end to three years of Commonwealth Games build-up, both in media and infrastructure. my eyes remained dry; I had already mourned departing my Himachal. and my final days in Delhi were largely check list driven:

1. sell car - check!
2. close bank account - must wait until I drain account
3. turn off mobile phone - facility currently unavailable
4. visit People Tree - t-shirt purchased
5. visit Safdarjung's Tomb - another time
6. turn in goods at former office - done!

i completed the "must be in India to do it" items and couldn't be bothered by the rest. i said goodbye and got to leave with my heart full of India and expecting great things in America. thank you, Lord!

Oh, How He Loves Us

I'm listening to that song now because it was rattling around my head for six straight days -- first as I struggled to overcome a stomach illness and lay sleepless in the tent in the middle of the night, then as I gasped for air on my way up to 4,500m, continuing on my way nearly straight up the col to our summit, and then as we safely descended through the hail storm to stable ground.

Mom emailed to let me know she was thinking about me and all the changes and goodbyes surrounding life now. I felt these keenly as I hugged a dear friend, not knowing when we'd meet again, and as the bus drove along the Beas River through the Kullu Valley -- a place that chronicles my love story with India. I explored the heights four years ago and left, determined to return and invest in a community that set my life on a new course. I returned a year later to my Himachal and worked for a year in development. Somehow the city sucked me in and I spent the last two years yearning for more time in the Himalayas. My heart broke a little as the bus carried me away yesterday. We often wish we could pull all of life together and have everything, all at once. We get to choose what we embrace and the life we create yet I'm experiencing life's delicate balance. Sometimes we can want two very separate things and must choose one path.
And amidst this heart rending tumult, God sweeps in and quiets our hearts. I spent a week in the wilderness on an expedition to climb Shetidhar Peak. While the guys were scoping out our next day's climb, I was lying in the field below, weeping at the thought of God's great love for us. My eyes scanned the grandeur surrounding me and I cried in humility, while receiving His grace, and recognizing God sometimes drives us to lonely places so He can remind us that He's really all we need. I strive to accomplish and earn lofty titles but these things don't hold eternal sway. God's measurements are vastly different from man's and it did me good to be reduced to little amidst His greatness in order to renew my perspective and focus on Him.


Before you ask, that's the name of the peak our team summited earlier this week that stands at 5,246 m (17,211 ft) above Solang Valley. An epic adventure filled with hail, smiles, and stars. More tales to follow . . .