Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Trek Through the Himalayas

[photo by Susan Watt, of Tofino, B.C.]

Remember Chris Lowther, my dreamy-eyed poet friend who lives on a floathouse in Clayoquot Sound? I wrote about her in the fall. She has known and loved Pup since his puppy days and grieved with me at his passing. She came for a visit yesterday, and brought with her a slideshow of amazing photos taken by our friend Susan Watt, also of Tofino, on her trip through Tibet, Nepal and Kashmir.

I sat for a blissful morning, sipping tea and being transported to another time, another land, where perhaps, some other lifetime, I belonged.

I fell in love with this little Tibetan fellow's face, and when Susan offered me my pick of photos, I chose this one. These are the eyes of an Old Soul. I was struck by the scarcity of what the people of that land need to live their lives: it is life stripped down to the essentials. One photo shows a Tibetan kitchen: a two-shelf table with a few aluminum pots, a few aluminum plates. That was it. One woman had a two burner hotplate; she had to connect wires together to ignite it, sparks flying each time. Their stone dwellings perched high atop cliffs, meaning someone had to walk a very long way to  find the day's water and pack it back up the hill.

And, uniformly, on every face, there is a radiance, a deep-welling satisfaction and contentment. Smiling faces, radiating inner joy, faces whose souls have learned what is truly essential in life: the things of the spirit.

Even the sheep in the photos looked radiant. They were smiling, too. Happy to be living in Tibet and Nepal, and not headed for the "factory farms" and cruel slaughterhouses of the West.

[That's Susan in the back, with black shirt and sunglasses.]

Susan is now on a mission. On her travels, she visited an orphanage in Nepal, where she learned that for three thousand North American dollars, its 21 orphans could be put through school for one year, including the cost of uniforms, fees and books. She intends to hold a slide-show and dinner event, to raise funds for this purpose.

I asked her if I might post about it here, as one never knows where or who  these words will reach. At the very least, reading about this is a lift of the heartstrings, a moment of hope, and a reminder to us here in North America, surrounded by and choking in the grip of all of our Stuff, that there are fellow humans in Lhasa, on the cliffsides of Nepal, and all through the Himalayas, who live a stripped-down and scarce material existence, but who are richer in spirit than we can begin to imagine.

And also that one person, seeing a need and addressing it, can make significant changes in this world. Bravo, Susan!!

Anyone wishing to contribute towards the education of these orphans, may contact Susan at



  1. What a beautiful post! Thanks so much. That is why I posted about the movie, "Blackboards" yesterday. At the end, we were just so grateful for all that we have, sometimes maybe more than enough. A movie you might also like. The sun shines brightly, hoping for a walk this afternoon.xoxoxoxo

  2. A lovely post, Sherry. One person can always make a difference, even if they don't know it at the time.

  3. what an inspiring story! stories like this make us appreciate more the life that we have. sadly, some people just refuse to believe how lucky they are.

    have a blessed sunday, sherry. :)

  4. Have just read you last three posts (sorry, catching up is all I do lately). This one specifically spoke to me in a very personal way and I wanted to thank you for that. And you are correct, we can never know what our words can do or whom they might reach. Like the sounds of the movies and really need to get to the library and see what they have to offer.

    Thanks so much Sherry,



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