Notes From the Road: The Mantra
In the Khumbu you cannot avoid ceremony. Even if you wanted to the air is full of prayers and sacred smoke that goes into your lungs and cleans you out without permission. You are blessed just for having walked there.
Each morning with the sunrise, columns of smoke rise from small rock altars behind every home, then fan out to merge with each other and the low hanging clouds. The smoke is from the holy incense that grows in the valley, sweet and pungent juniper. Today the blessings are for climbers leaving for expeditions.
But I’m not leaving for ours just yet. Today I am walking with friends.
I walk with Karma Tsering Sherpa, who recites day and night to himself (almost inaudibly,