We had dinner recently with some of our neighbors in Montana. They were out on their boat that they keep on the coast and we joined them in Roche Harbor, on ours.
We all live between 7,000 and 9,000 feet and they reported that they still have over five feet of snow in their neighborhood. Why doesn’t that happen in late October and early November instead of this time of the year when people want to go trout fishing or surfing?
I’ve spent much of this spring behind the word processor and receiving a few unbelievable emails. For example:
In Grindlewald, Switzerland there is one of the toughest climbs, over 9,000 vertical feet of rock and ice, that has claimed the lives of many, many men who have attempted it.
I was filming in nearby Murrin when the Eiger was first climbed in the winter. One spring when I got there to do some filming, what was left of a climber had been hanging from the end of a rope for seven or eight months. He had died on a ledge then fell off and it was impossible retrieve him. Every coin-operated telescope in the village was aimed at his body.
The email in question involves the latest attempt to climb the Eiger. Someone managed the ascent without ropes, companions or any alpine equipment except his crampons and an ice axe and incredible agility and strength. He made that climb in two hours and 47 minutes. Considering the shape I am in today I would have a hard time walking that distance on a flat road in that length of time.
The next two emails involved the terribly destructive Tsunami in Japan. One was of a dozen or so photographs of creatures from a very deep ocean that had washed up on shore when the wave plowed in at almost 500 mph.
The next email is about what was left when the wave receded. It is of photos of ships, perhaps 60 or 70 feet long, stranded on the roof of a three-story building. Another image was of a freighter sitting upright and apparently undamaged but high and dry with no water visible. I wonder how they are going to haul it down the street and back into the ocean?
Unfortunately, I’ve never figured out how to forward these emails or I would do it. I wonder, at this age, whether I could even pass a grammar school, fourth-grade test. I can write stories and print out incoming emails and that is about it. Kids today have to learn so much more information than we ever did. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in their early lives to learn it all.
The fourth email, and to me the most inspirational and best, was of a small kitten that greatly resembled the one we lost a month ago as she was approaching her 20th birthday. The photos looked as though the cat was on a boat when a dolphin appeared in the water beside her. She just reached out and touched the dolphin on the nose with her paw. Then she leaned forward and rubbed noses with the dolphin and then there were two dolphins taking turns to rub noses with the kitten. I am not a religious person, but this dolphin-kitten email really left a wonderful impression on me.
Let’s see: in the space of a few days I have seen things from the bottom of the ocean thrown up on the beach by a tsunami along with ships over 200 feet long. I have seen a man climb the north face of the Eiger in under three hours, or 3,000 vertical feet of rocks and ice per hour. And I have seen an unexplainable interaction between a calico cat and a dolphin.
What is not to like about electronic information? Just have to learn how to use it well!
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