An expression that is frequently directed to momentous events is, “I guess you can check that off your bucket list”. Reflecting on the discussions in the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, I think there are simple pleasures that we can apply the same expression to as well.
In my case I had each type of experience while climbing the highest peak in Africa, and the highest freestanding peak in the world. Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,340’ above sea level (for Information on the 7 highest peaks see; (Seven Summits). The extreme part of the adventure is self-evident, but you may ask, “What was the simple pleasure that touches your heart and the quiet parts of your being?” In this adventure it was spending 10 days in a far away land with no phone and no internet with my daughter, Mary.
The hike and summiting was a great adventure; being the first to see the sunrise in Africa, the extreme cold (about -20 degrees F at the summit), hiking a steep and potentially life-ending trail for 6 hours in the dark, not to mention oxygen deprivation. For this we gain some bragging rights. But being guided by my 5’-2” blonde 20-year-old daughter in a land that has a different view of women (especially young white women), bestows a different kind of “bragging right”. After being in Africa for only 2 months she was versed in the customs and conversant in KiSwahili. Who in America would have known there were so many Swahili languages? She taught me the way KiSwahili words are pronounced (accents on the 2nd vowel) and that all the words end in a vowel. They also don’t have a hard “K” sound. I know about the Masaai warriors and how they prove/earn their manhood (kill a lion with a single spear – failure is unpleasant). The Masaai also believe that they are the oldest civilization on earth. She also taught me a lot about how Africa sees the world and how it is different from how Americans see it.
I can go on and on, but I will simply leave at these two thoughts:
1-I don’t have a bucket list’ but if I did then climbing a mountain like Kili would probably not be on it; spending time like this with Mary (or any of my 4 children or wife) would.
2- “Lala Salama” – sleep well. Fun to say and a great way to end your day.
PS- If you decide you have a bucket list or simply want to go, call me. The guide is a huge part of the trip. Our summit was Baraka’s 193rd trip to the top. You will be pleased. You will get to the highest summit in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
-John W. Lister