I stood there beside Raphael, both of us silent in our own worlds, under a thick blanket of stars. Slowly, we spun around, our gaze constantly lifted towards the heavens.
‘Do you feel as small as I do?’ He asked quietly.
‘Yeah…’ I whispered back, afraid to speak louder than necessary, as if my voice would shake the stars out of their majestic placement in the sky. It was then that I caught the first trailblazer. ‘Oh my god… did you see that?’
‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Did you make a wish?’
I barely had time to answer when I caught another shooting star, and then another.
‘This is better than the mountains!’ I clapped my hands and squealed, not caring about poise or deportment. ‘This is magic!’
Raphael chuckled in reply.
And there we stood. Two lone strangers in the Annapurna Base Camp. While the rest of the world was cuddled for warmth in their sleeping bags, we were the only fools brave enough to stand in the freezing cold because of the stars. It was only a matter of time though, before Raphael had a massive coughing fit (he was already not feeling well) and my knees began knocking out an uncontrolled syncopated rhythm.
‘I’m heading to bed,’ I finally gave in to the cold. ‘See you around, hey?’
‘Yeah,’ he coughed in reply.
I turned and walked away, giving the night skies one final look before ducking my head into my room. If there was a reason to trek up 4130m to a base camp, this was it.
Tonight, 34 minutes before I turn a year older… I look up to the night skies again but I don’t see anything. The city lights have clouded my view but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. Somewhere beyond my naked vision, they twinkle for me. Perhaps, this is significant knowledge regarding my years ahead.
I can’t always see what lies beyond and there are times when it feels as though all majesty, beauty and magnificence in daily life has waned. But the years ahead are still glorious. They twinkle at me in my consciousness, the trailblazing years begging me to make new wishes, new promises, and maybe even pronounce new hopes.
What lies ahead?
I know what lies behind me. Like the endless trek and painful toil up Nepal’s steep angles, there were moments in the past 365 days since my last birthday when it was painful and tough. Times when I couldn’t bear to look up and see what was ahead for fear of discouragement at how much more there was to go. There were also times when I paused to take a breather, and was astonished at how far I’d come through.
One step at a time.
See the mountains.
One step at a time.
To reach the stars.
And for the first time in my life, I smile on the eve of my birthday.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come and the mountains of challenges I’ve scaled. Not everything is in its rightful place now and there are many changes I want to make in my life, changes that must take place. That said, I’m still proud of this little girl who has continued to plough through pain, disappointment, discouragement, fear and sadness.
A girl who refuses to stop dreaming about her stars.
A woman with the heavens woven into her nature.
A person who will choose to look beyond her failures.
A girl, her Dream Maker and a beautiful future.