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At that time I was 16 years old.  I invited her that afternoon with the excuse of having some ice cream, but she knew my real intentions were to declare my love, and I knew she knew.  I let the two dips of ice cream, lemon and vanilla, melted to water, I could not manage my nerves, I was afraid to choke because I thought that in those circumstances I would not be able to do two things at once: have an ice cream and declare my love.

Then, in the 70's (I don't know how it would be right now, remember I have 45 tacos on my back), it was usual that after the love declaration, the girlfriend would obligatory say: "OK, let me think about it" and the she would spend days, weeks, or worst, months in that exercise of thinking, and only then after that time the desperate boy who had made the declaration would listen the YES, for his happiness or the NO, for his disgrace.

For good or bad (and with time I've learned it was for bad) it has not been the best virtue in my life to wait, and to understand better we will call it PATIENCE.  Well, going back to my declaration, immediately after my love verses to the lady in question, as it was in the script of our youth in the 70s, she said: "OK, I have to think". To that, I jumped with delicacy but with feline audacity, using the speech that that was inadmissible in a woman as smart as her, because she knew well what was my objective that afternoon, so there was no surprise in my proposal of love; also, I remember telling her that I thought an excess of cruelty for any human being to make him wait for so many days, in uncertainty, to then say NO.  If that was the fatidic answer.  On the other side, it was a waste of time to let days or weeks pass to then begin to have the gifts and colors of love, if she could say YES in that very moment the honey of love could begin spilling from the hearts of the two lovers.

I don't know if my speech was powerful or if those honeys of love could not wait any longer, because I achieved a YES in that moment, putting aside the famous let-me-think, and I got rid of that time when I had to WAIT.

Years went by, a time when sometimes I had to pay because of my scarce virtue of not knowing how to wait, of not having PATIENCE.

I was married, my ex-wife was pregnant and we were expecting a baby.  We lived in Quito but because of fate we had to go to Ambato (120 Km to the south of Quito) to do some errand that would not take us more than two days.  And of course, Murphy's Law is always present when you least expect it: labor began in Ambato.  Desperate, I called the gynecologist in Quito, to ask what should we do and the first question that came to my mind was: Can you come?  He answered with another question: Can Lorena wait?  In the middle of my logical anguish, as a first time father, I had not lost my sense of humor and I said: It is not her who doesn't want to wait, it's him.  And that same night at 11 thirty, in Ambato of course, my son Andrés (Andy for friends) was born, with another gynecologist, another anesthesiologist and other nurses.  He didn't want to wait either. 

Midnight, Sunday, March 27, 2005:  

I prepare the last details for my expedition to Dhaulagiri before going to Madrid; I come to the point of the number of books I have to take to Base Camp to read while I WAIT.  I chose six narratives and two for reflection.  Holding four in each hand I evaluate what I have to do then and I think: Two eight-thousands in a month and a half, it is a lot of activity and work.  Waiting time?  Why, there is no time?  If I have to get to Dhaulagiri, acclimatize, install camps, climb to the summit of GOD permits and then zas!... flying, literally (by chopper), to Base Camp in Annapurna to attempt the summit.

With this plan, waiting time: none.

Out of the six books of narrative I leave half and keep three, plus the reflection ones.

Gee, what pretension of mine, or better said, with the proper word: what arrogance.  I stupidly thought that with ten eight-thousands had a sealed passport for good weather and optimal conditions on the mountain.  And today, here I am in my tent, 9 days waiting for the weather and snow conditions to improve (maybe we have to wait 5 more days before making another attempt to the summit).  Of course, I swallowed the three books I brought time ago, and luckily Benedetti is still there and the other one by Osho that I read little by little and I stay chewing the poems or the reflections.

Today I have to wait, wait with patience and humbleness, watching every day how hours go by slowly and sometimes, I can't deny it, invaded by anguish of not knowing if finally some day it will stop snowing and there would be a lot of Sun for the snow to get better and also, if at some moment the wind would get tired of roaring above 6,000 m.

What a great lesson I have lived on this beautiful mountain. Remember we almost got to the summit, if it wasn't for the mistake of the Koreans..., and now I am in Base Camp, I am personally asking GOD and the gods of Dhaulagiri to be kind enough to give us an opportunity to make a new attempt.  The schedule in those days of waiting is more or less the same. 

At 7 and a half in the morning, I wake up with all the drops of dew that suicide on my face.

7h30 - 8h30:  Inside my tent, I make stretching and relaxation exercises.

8h30 - 9h30:  I read an stupendous book that luckily has been given to me by Iñaki: "The worst trip of the world", by Cherry Garrard, that tells about Scott's trip to the South Pole, 650 pages, luckily.

9h30 - 10h30:  Breakfast and chat with the teammates of the expedition.

10h30 - 11h: I organize my tent

11h - 12h:  I go out to walk over the slopes close to the glacier of Base Camp.  I do more exercise and more stretching (because with so much waiting I am going to rust)

13h - 14h:  Lunch, chat by the table.  During the afternoon it starts to snow and then I run to my tent to read, write and/or listen to music.

19h - 21h: Dinner and chat.

21h - 22h:  I read in my tent and then I go to sleep.

That is my life now in Base Camp.

A great lesson about the value of patience and waiting.  It is well known that each lesson normally comes when one needs it the most; I thank Dhaulagiri because I was forgetting about the humbleness one has to have to know how to wait.

That impatience of mine when I was 16, even if love is put as an excuse, was simple arrogance from my part.  That impatience from my son Andres to be born right away is well justified, because it was impatience for life and for light, which is marvelous.  And now me, when I packed just three books for this expedition, I was not being optimist.  No.  Forget it!  I had forgotten that to enter in the kingdom of these great mountains you need patience and humbleness.

From Dhaulagiri's Base Camp with my love.



Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera



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