It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but since I have no pictures, words will have to do.
During the first day of our trek, I found that my camera would not work. It complained of “insufficient battery” (it had been at fully charged that morning). I had no way of charging it while I was in the mountains, and I also realized that my poor 10-year old Kodak may have reached the end of its life. So I resigned myself to the fact that, if I wanted any images from the trek and the rest of the course, I would have to rely on the photos other people take and my own (would that it were photographic) memory.
I’m not really much of a photographer, but I take a camera with me whenever I travel and take pictures of anything beautiful or interesting or that will help me remember my experience in that place (generally, those pictures spend several years sitting in a file on my computer without being shown to anyone). As a result, I pay more attention to whether something is photo-worthy than to the thing itself, and I spend more time getting out my camera and taking pictures than I do looking around and appreciating my surroundings. I’ve been aware of this, naturally, but I take the pictures anyway. Now with my busted camera, I have no choice but to keep my head up and my eyes open and actually see the fantastic snow-capped peaks and breath-taking valleys, the majestic waterfalls, the rushing rivers, the yaks, the colorful stores in Patan, and everything else that I came to Nepal to see. It’s liberating.
I think that my camera breaking may have been a gift. I’ve learned a valuable lesson in being present and paying attention to my surroundings, since I won’t be able to rely on photos to remind me of what I’ve seen after I leave. I’m learning to appreciate my time here even more. So, Mom and Dad, I’m afraid I won’t be taking home as many photos as I hoped, but I will have plenty of stories to tell and memories that don’t rely on a charged camera battery.