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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

Saying Yes

Dear Papa,

Before I left, you told me to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, and so far, with your voice in my head, I’ve been trying to. I’ve done the sunrise hike, though no rosy rays would claw past the cloud cover. I have, in the spur-of-the-moment, gone to a Bhutanese singing competition, though, jet-lagged, I was dead-beat. I’ve picked up a spool of yarn and clumsily started weaving, though, even with her gestured encouragement, I was afraid of ruining my home-stay mother’s careful construction. I’ve jumped into the fire and rain of the night to experience a village funeral, even as a warm house beckoned, and now, after hiking to the trekking camp, I’ve grabbed my water bottle and camera and scaled a mountain by wading through greenery that twisted past my head, along a treacherously narrow path in order to reach that ruins of a centuries-old dzong, reclaimed by nature.  Balanced on the highest point, moss and stone underfoot, I could turn in a full circle and see valleys, each with their own character—river-chiseled, village-speckled, Dragons-campsite-overrun—in every direction, hulking peaks fading in layers of gray into the oncoming storm. Though my body and mind groans at each crossroad, when I’m faced with a choice between doing or not doing, it’s clear that these aren’t weighty scenarios—no dangers, no life changes. On the whole, I choose adventure over comfort, sparks of interest over each day running into the next, and I’ve not had a twinge of regret from this practice because with every agreement, I collect another kernel of memory to bring home and crack open with you.

Love ,