Changing Aging Blog

Namaste by Jim Klobuchar
Date: Dec 4th, 2008 5:39am


Eric Schubert

Last week we announced that legendary journalist Jim Klobuchar would be joining Ecumen’s Changing Aging blog and posting monthly. Jim is an incredible story teller with incisive insights and vast life experiences. He’s epitomizes successful aging and living to the fullest. Welcome to Jim’s first post.

A Boy in the Mountains

He was a boy on a mountain trail, a poor kid with large brown eyes and floppy hair, staring at me where I sat on a great flat-topped boulder high in the Himalayas. He seemed bewildered. But now I remember him as a child who altered a part of my life.I may have been the first westerner he’d seen--an alien creature on a rock, clad in the trekker’s garments of wool cap, expensive down jacket and multipocketed Patagonia pants. In three days my friends and I had hiked down from the base camp of Mt. Everest. We’d camped beside the roiling Dudh Khosi River and, with supper still a half hour away. So I walked up the trail and scrambled to the boulder top to admire the vast Himalayan panorama. and dozed beneath the streamers of sun radiating off the glaciers. I woke to sounds on the trail. A young Sherpa couple was returning from the potato patch they farmed. Neither noticed me. The boy fell behind and for a few moments stood motionless, regarding me. Then slowly he raised his arm and waved.I waved in appreciation. He smiled. I smiled. He scrambled to catch up with his parents, turned at the head of the bridge, and waved. I waved. By now we were friends. His parents, oblivious, crossed the bridge. The boy followed and waved. Because the trail through the rhododendron forest was steep and rose 500 feet to their village home, it switched back five or six times. At each switchback the boy stopped and waved. Some times he had to duck beneath branches. Our mutual arm thrashings became very aggressive and more or less fun. At the top of the slope the mother saw me, noticed her son’s excitement and then said something to him. The boy turned, slowly put his hands and fingerips together beneath his lips and said something. I couldn’t hear, of course. But I knew what he was saying:'Namaste.' In the Himalayas Namaste (Nah-mah-Stay') means in its most lyric sense, 'I praise the God who lives within you.' It’s the most beautiful word I know. It’s the greeting you exchange there. Consider. The God within you. Within me. Something divine dwells there. And if we allow it, if we release our resentments and fears, it can bring us closer together; to better understand each other, to forgive when we are wronged, to cleanse us when we need.I put my fingertips to my lips, turned to the boy a half mile away and said 'Namaste.' And at that moment, the poor boy and I were together, perhaps for the rest of our lives.Jim

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