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A Curious Yak

(Excerpt from the working memoir A Curious Yak)

Sonam told me the yak wouldn't bite, but I was more concerned it would crush me. I was also concerned I might choke on the smell--something between wet dog and rotting vegetables. The yak's hair was matted and thick. I dug my fingers deep and still could not find the skin.

Our stinky friend gave a snort as we unloaded bags of rice, lentils and onions from his (or was it her) back. It probably could have been our taxi, but the yak looked better suited to till the soil and transport groceries--the station wagon and work horse of the Himalayas. I gave our fragrant friend a pat when we arrived at the next hut, our "hotel" for the night. He (or she) would sleep outside, thank God, but would have one hell of an early morning view. We parted the heavy cloth to go inside for a dinner of dal bhat and hot chang.

Tomorrow we would wake for the view we had hiked to days to see--the sun rising over Everest.

Long before dawn, I woke with a start. A fierce wind blew over the foothills, shaking the small home. Throwing off the heavy blanket, I slipped into my shoes and crept outside. Blackest night thick with firefly stars welcomed me, so close to heaven. All alone, I stood on the tiny hill, waiting.

As the rest of the house slept, the yak and I watched morning wake the world.

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