Inch by inch
Minus 20C last night felt uncomfortably warm compared with the usual temperatures I’ve endured. 6am – a small puff of wind roused me and I managed to get fed and camp packed with the big kite up by 8am.
Slow Kiting or kite-assisted-walking is where one travels at walking pace but the kite is shouldering the 190 kg sled load. It’s slow, it’s monotonous but it does chew some miles away, gradually.
I managed 3 hours and then like a shot bird, down the kite came. Common sense prevailed and I set camp to sleep until wind forecast this evening 9pm GMT or UTC arrives.
Slow-kiting is unlike speed kiting (aside from the obvious.) When you are moving fast, every neurone in your head is kept busy, continually avoiding sastrugi, monitoring wind speed and avoiding injury. When you’re on the slow-train, the big white expanse affords the best pondering in the world.
It’s a dangerous space to enter as you contemplate your isolation (I worked out the nearest humans to me now are on the International Space Station when it goes overhead.) You tend to feel your bodies complaints more and think of loved ones and home. I’ve been less disciplined in this area compared with my other expeditions, allowing myself the occasional indulgence of thinking of home during the day.
Today I meditated on Sarah, my incredible friend, partner in all and wife. I saw her pretty face and focused on all her attributes for hours. She filled the white space and allowed me to ignore my slow pace.
I want to honour her here, for all she does to support adventure and stretch in our lives. We support each other’s dreams equally, mine just seem to soak up more fuel than hers and cost the family more in terms of risk, anxiety and strain. Sarah has never sought to clip my wings, never sought to tame me. In fact she is half my strength spurring me on to push harder, work to get home, to break boundaries.
I love that woman with every fibre of my being, I don’t hide it, I don’t play the tough guy. She has me hook line and sinker. She strengthens me, understands me, makes me a better man.
I share it as today it as I want to serve as an encouragement to all couples young and old. You can find love, (or rediscover it) even if things aren’t perfect right now. Don’t lose hope – stay the course, it takes work and patience (Like slow kiting!)
Aside from sharing a deep faith together, Sarah and I live by 3 simple keys which have kept us all these years.
- Keep short accounts. (Never go to bed upset with each other)
- Always put friendship first and seek common interests
- Meet in the middle
That’s it from me, better get some Zzzzzz’s in front of the next wind puff from the North!!!