Friday, January 30, 2015

Read 1: Miracle in the Andes

As a train rider now, I have more time to read, which is wonderful!

On goodreads dot com, I committed to reading 10 books this year. For all you avid readers out there that've stumbled upon this post, quit laughing. I'm glad you can read 10 books a month, so celebrate me reading 10 in a year. :P

The first book I completed, Mircale in the Andes by Nando Porrado, was human drama to say the least. This book moved me. It inspired me. I elevated me. I am better for having read it.

It'll be hard to blog about this without telling the whole story. If I let it, this could turn into a long read blog.....

I saw Nando Porrado speak about five or six years ago at a conference for a professional organization to which I belong. At first, I was going to skip the speakers, there's a reason I didn't! I am not even sure I know the reason (or reasons?) yet, but I do know that making the decision to stay and listen that day has brought me to where I am today, which is a good thing.

Less about me....


If you haven't heard of him, look him up -- he's all over the interwebs. In the book, he describes himself as modest looking, surrounded by friends who are far better looking than he. Maybe it's the gettingbetterwithage, or the unintended prejudice I have knowing what he's overcome and that's some how alluring to me, but when I look at photos of him, I *like* him. I want to meet him. I have heard him talk, so that underlying South American accent that I love so much helps attract me to him. When I see some pictures of him, the ones since the ordeal, I think, "he looks so at peace, and he exudes calm".

If you HAVE heard of him, you might know him more as one of those dudes that ate other people to stay alive after their plane crashed.

I'm a bit sad for Mr. Porrado if this is the familiarity to which his has been diminished; however, if that's what it takes to call attention to one of the greatest stories of the human condition and our power to overcome the internal and external forces each and every one of us faces daily, then so be it.

In a nutshell, a rugby team from Uruguay chartered a plane to fly to Chile in order to compete in a rugby match. En route, they plane crashed into the rugged, unforgiving Andes mountains. There were several survivors, though some of them died in the 72 days before they were rescued. Nando Parrado was one of the gentlemen who cussed the mountain as he conquered it in the most raw cold one can dare to imagine, no equipment, no map, no proper clothes, no help; just sheer will to survive. And yes, part of survival was eating "meat" - the flesh of the dead - being a cannibal. If you take the time to no only read the story, but imagine yourself in the same situation, you see that the choice to eat "meat" was one of great discussion and deliberation. Too, the cannibalism isn't what should be the lead story. The *survival* should be! There are SO MANY details that are under-appreciated and I hope that when taken as a whole, the prominent memory of this story truly is that the human spirit is fierce and the instinct to survive is powerful.

I challenge you to read this book. Feel free to share your thoughts in response. Or have you already read it? What did you think? Were you moved in any way?

For an in-depth online experience, visit National Geographic's website about a return to the crash site.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Less Is More

Less hair
More wrinkles.
Less energy.
More weight.
Less youth.
More wisdom.
Less fear.
More resolve.
Less time.
More truth.

Me on my 44th birthday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gifts From The Parents

A tiny angel lives inside the silver heart.

A 2014 penny winked at me as I departed the train today.

These are the gifts my mom and dad gave me for my birthday.

My heart is smiling.