If  I had it to do all over again I would travel lighter.
If I had to do it all over again I would travel lighter.

rock climbing

I traveled light, backed my car in, left the engine running, the lighter plugged in for a quick getaway and a smoke. I had a smoke and thought about light and the sun coming up on the day that I died. I lit a candle, poured wax on my legs.

I flew too close and melted my wings. The wax poured down off a mountain top. In Nepal there are tigers and yak butter. It’s a long way down the wax-capped mountain. Yak butter keeps the Nepalese warm. They own one blanket, one rug, one kettle, and 12 prayer bells.

If I was Nepalese, traveling to America, I would carry a cloth sack filled with prayer beads, thick socks and a tin of yak butter.


I would come back with a camera, electric floss, sopaipilla mix, a silk scarf, an ipod, Levis, a hotmail account, a framed photo of Elvis, a case of Spam, Timberlands, underwear that wicked my sweat and left me dry, a burro to carry it all and a little change left over from the sale of the prayer beads.


If I was American, traveling to Nepal, I would carry a camera, energy bars, a passport, a map, a funny feeling about the Dalai Lama, and a kit with antibiotic ointment, bandages and antacids. I would come back with yak butter, a rug or two, photos, stories, gear, and an ex-pat attitude.


If I was to die today, I would take with me nothing at all. If I was to die in 30-40-50 years, I would take with me nothing at all. Yak butter, SUV, electric floss.


Here, I’ll drop suitcases out of a plane on a runway with lights in parallel rows claiming some order, order in the universe – soft-sided, hard-sided, with wheels and straps and tags. Empty trunks, cloth bags full of books and letters and photos.




On touchdown I would be clean as an angel’s wing, ready for rebirth, ascension, and I would be happy to do it again and again.

Lift, balance, stagger, release.


It’s only heavy right before you need to put it down. Before that it flies with you, first class or cargo, and you hardly know it’s there.


Sometimes it’s a gift. You take it out of your satchel and say look, look what I brought. Whether it’s yak butter or marmalade, it’s light and floats into the air into someone else’s care, until they notice the weight of it and put it away or hand it on. Burdens and gifts are wrapped in the same package, take the same stamps.


2 Responses to “Lighter”

  1. 1 Lollyloo September 11, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Those are ICE CLIMERS, right? Those little, tiny insect figures crawling up that frozen waterfall?

    It does look waxy. Just like the mess all over the cold fireplace, where I insist on lighting the candles to gutter in the swamp cooler’s breath.

  2. 2 Teresa September 11, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Yep. I should probably work on the photo, but I’m lazy. Maybe later.

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