Altitude Sickness


Date: October 19, 1999

Place: Manang, Nepal (Annapurna Circuit)

At 13,000 feet, up there, somewhere
in a cave
a man . . .
and a woman (you won’t see her)
who will bless your ascent
for the equivalent of two dollars
to cover the cost of spiced oil
that he drips in your hair.
Bring a kata with you,
silky white in your pocket.
The lama will say a blessing
and then lay it gently around your neck.
He will sprinkle the scented oil
and something else in your hair.
It won’t wash out (the smell never goes away).
Don’t smoke or
light any candles
for several days. Continue reading