Saturday, May 18, 2013

High and Dry...

I think I am suffering from altitude sickness...having gone from High Point's elevation of one thousand feet to Nairobi's 5400+, with a hiatus at Kigali's 5000+. It's one of the things travelers are seldom warned about- unless they are planning to mountain climb! But I find the lack of oxygen makes me feel very tired and late afternoon naps have become the order of the day for me.
The rainy season seems to have stopped...not a drop since we arrived, after an extremely wet March and April. Temperatures hover in the upper seventies during the day, but begin to cool quickly as the sun drops low in the western sky, around 4:30 or 5p.m. And because we are so near to the equator, there are almost exactly twelve hours of daylight, with darkness setting in around 6:30p.m. 

Of course, we have also not been eating a great deal...just not particularly hungry, in spite of lots of time outdoors and a fair amount of walking. Bedtime has been later than nine-thirty most nights...and rise-and-shine hasn't been earlier than seven-thirty, which is really "sleeping in" for me. My body's biological clock is adjusting pretty well, I think, but I don't feel like the "No Jet-Lag Diet" worked as well for me this trip.

And, of course, there is one additional factor which is coming into play- though I tend to think of this last and least. I am two years older than I was last trip...and though in my head there seems to be no difference, I know that there is in my body, particularly when it comes stamina.

I've been reading Thich Nhat Hahn's book, Fear, in which he states that one of our greatest fears is aging, accompanied by becoming ill and, of course, death. We all too often fool ourselves into believing these things will never happen to us...but the reality is, they will happen to everyone. The key, he believes, is to not let the fear overwhelm befriend these truths and accept them as part of the natural cycle of life...and to continue to live as fully and courageously and joyfully as possible.

At seventy-one, I am facing and noticing many changes, in mind, body, and spirit. I hope and pray that I will accept and embrace them as "teachers" along the way, continuing to learn and grow and become, even as parts of life become smaller. And I am deeply blessed to have so many of you to accompany me along the way. Thanks be to God.

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