161 | Self Portrait :: Everest Base Camp, 2014

The view from base camp was gorgeous. The clouds had just cleared so you can actually see the peak of Everest. It was hard to garner that feeling of reverence though, given the noisy crowd surrounding me, people clamoring to get close to the weathered and humble sign that said “Mt. Qomolancma Base Camp, Elevation 5,200m.”

We were given some time to ourselves, so I decided to walk down the hill to find some peace and quiet. I wanted to connect with the mountain, that majestic and fearful being silently looking down at those who tried to “conquer” her in amusement. Only humans could come up with language like “conquer” to describe climbing to the top of a mountain. If an ant had climbed to the top of my head, no matter how difficult the feat was for the ant, would I have considered myself conquered?

I sat for a while and enjoyed the sound of flags rustling in the wind. I thought about Into Thin Air, one of my favorite books that I re-read on the way here, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be one of those people whose grand ambition in life is to summit this peak, which, from this distance, doesn’t even seem that daunting. I pondered on the meaning of life, as the grandness of nature often inspired me to do. Once in a while I love to physically experience my minuteness in this world, which in turn reminds me of the preciousness of this one life, and humbles my ego that had grown while engulfed in the noise that we call daily life.

I set my camera down with a timer and took this photo, to commemorate that moment, so that sometimes, when I come up on it sitting at my desk, I can still recall that moment of peace, clarity, and feeling small.

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