Saturday, June 11, 2011

One and Three Cups of Tea

The view from the Teahouse at Lake Agnus (just a short and steep climb up from Lake Louise, AB) is food for painters.  My eyes keep jumping from cliff to tree to tree to glacier to cloud to waterfall: just breathing it in. One thing us Canadians cannot gripe about: how beautiful the land is where we have been born and/or live in.

Flight into Kamloops, BC. These are mountains, ;).

A sunrise hike I decided to take while in Banff; I got dropped in the town at 3am so I went to the Timmies until the later early morning and watched the sunrise through the hiking trails... unbelievable! 

View hiking up to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnus Teahouse

Me at Lake Louise! 
The Rocky Mountain setting, which I have been fortunate enough to bus through the past few days during my route homeward, has provided a compelling back drop to the book I've been reading along the way...
Teahouse at the Lake Agnus! There is a secret about this mention in my post, but I am not going to tell you! baha, so mysterious.
Momma Gray recommended a book to me before I left, and I picked it up at the airport before grabbing the teeny plane to Kamloops, BC.  You may have heard of it; "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Moretenson (the man the book is half about) and David Oliver Relin.

The book's form is one that I particularly attach too: a story.  A story of how humans - "ordinary" or not - can help weave a better world by breaking down barriers and building relationships.  Humans inspiring other humans. Sick.

"Three Cups of Tea" in sum (summer reading? ) begins on the summits of K2 ((okay, I know the Rockies are like anthills in comparison, but gazing at them gives the imagination a boost) I also want to add that my discovery of the existence of Harper Mountain gave my imagination a different kind of boost - not so inspiring ;)), side-tracked.  In sum, is about a man who almost reached the top of the world's deadliest peak but failed, however through the relationships formed with strangers who took him in and showed him utmost hospitality - strangers that many in the Global North do not value - fought the steep and challenging climb of building and maintaining schools in Pakistan's remote peak's villages, where many of the extremist Taliban's roots lie...

Now, an interesting spin to me writing this wee recommendation comes as I have discovered that there has been some recent controversy surrounding the text's validity. The allegations involve serious questioning suggesting fabrication of the original story, as well as the competency of this mountaineer/doctor to run an NGO. Of course I hope worst claims are not true.  BUT, I have had some conversation with people about this case, and you can come to your own conclusions about the situation.

In the mean time, a story that has roots of truth that relay the amazing capacity of humans fighting odds together all over the world IS what can be internalized, and even if this work was one of fiction (do not mistake me, I am by NO means condoning lying for social justice) perhaps it can inspire us using words and the power of language to link us to reality and the possibilities of our own lives. We can still know that great things are possible if we do this together and find our own place. Instead of just pointing the finger in blame (though it may or may not be needed), we can look in the mirror and point out in ourselves our own possible hypocrisy, apathy, gluttony, selfishness... oh, and abilities to turn those things around, and love despite it all.

blahblah, there's the hippie talk again... eat it up, I've got more ;).

Words and stories can potentially rip apart but they also have the ability to inspire, and this book's negative shadow right now will not black out the encouraging affect it had on me about the possibilities of people crossing the bridges of "other", building life together. I can weed out the inspiring good from the potential bad.

I'll leave you with a quote from the intro to the book;

"I wish [the project] success because it is fighting the war on terror the way I think it should be conducted. Slamming over the so called Karakorum 'Highway' in his old land cruiser, taking great personal risks to seed the region that gave birth to the Taliban with schools, Mortenson goes to war with the root causes of terror every time he offers a student a chance to relieve a balanced education, rather than attend an extremist madrassa..."

And, in words mentioned from "The Quiet American," 

"Sometimes to be human, you have to take sides."

Let's move mountains, people! :)
Speaking of which, hey look! Here's some now...

Checkin' me out before looking to his left for dinner:

A British couple and I watched this little stare down go on between the dear and Coyote.. luckily we didn't see any mangling, so we'll live in denial and believe that the deer avoided the circle of life's realities for another day.  I'm not ashamed to say though that I wasn't being the one stared down.

Oh yeah! And if you are looking to spice up your relationship, consider getting temporary tattoos (we wouldn't want to have TOO much fun/crazy and go permanent now would we?? ;) I laughed to myself, thought I'd share).

Mirror Lake

Gophers who were popping up and bouncing up and down ALL around me while I was sitting eating my lunch near Lake Louise. They were cute.

Legit Banff water - the guy who gave it to me was VERY proud that it was the best water in Canada, and that even if I wasn't thirsty I should drink it.  I did, willingly... and it was better than any bottled water, hands down... the Timmies guy didn't lie.

En route to Edmonton...

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