Picture: Paths of Desire from Base Camp
once again, I'm sat in the orange gloom of the BC tent. I'm drinking coffee out of a steel mug, coffee that was brewed in my old Buletti Italian aluminium stove top. The tent fabrique flutters. Santosh, Buddhi's brother-in-law, sings a gentle Nepali song while cleaning dishes outside. I shiver thinking of numb fingers. But the stove purrs inside the cook tent. Instant relief.
I look at the sharp light stealing from beneath the BC tent's valance. White stinging light, it pushes into the orange gloom. The brightness signifies snow laying on the dark earth outside. The weather has thrown a curve ball.
I finish my Nepali organic coffee, a rich brew. Then I ease from the broken camp chair. The coffee runs through my body speeding my heart. Unzipping the door of the BC tent, I step outside. Snow flows over the side of my sandal and wets my sock. Socks and sandals. Not so cool Bullock!
A white windy world embraces me. Small frozen pellets fall and twist and spin on the ground. The pellets remind me of hay seeds from a summer meadow while haymaking as a kid on the edge of Huntley Wood in Staffordshire. The seeds would blow and collect in the stubble and highlight the tracks of animals. Buddhi joins in with Santosh's singing, and I'm back surrounded by the mountains. Mountains covered in winter.
Once untouched, our BC camp now shows signs of ware. The ground is rough, its like a million rag worms have slithered beneath the surface of our earth beach, but now there are faint paths. The paths, usually difficult to pick-out, are highlighted and stand proud as they collect the snow like felt-fuzz.
A well trodden white walkway to the veg pit. A white weaving line towards the water source. A large white square in the middle of our personal tents, once the bed of the vomiting trip hazard David, and the whitest line, the deepest walkway, is the one toward the shit tent.
Outside the swaying cook tent, three hessian sacks full of rubbish bow. White weight bends the sacks. I imagine they each need a wooden walking stick. Empty bean, pineapple, mushroom tins fill with snow. An empty Scotch bottle collects snow around its broad shoulder, although its thin neck remains proud. It saddens me to think of the fiery contents we finished off last night while laughing and piss taking and bullshitting. While and planning of the climb ahead. The snow was not imagined then. The snow was not imagined as the four of us, in the dark, stumbled into the frosted star lit night with dreams and emotions and excitement. Tomorrow is Monday, the day before we go.
And as I stand, looking out from BC, looking toward A3, or what would be A3 if it wasn't clouded in, I watch our well worn path grow faint.