Sunday, June 3, 2012

The gift of the chiru

June 3, 2006--Day 17 3:55 p.m. Beijing time
wild donkeys--photo by Jinpa

This morning we  packed our gear and left our campsite at the northern end of Aru Tso, sort of across from our first campsite. We are backed up against  glaciers and a glacial stream runs right next to where we are camped.

On the way  here we passed an abandoned nomad site with two wild yak skulls. Heinrich is fascinated by wild yak skulls so we stopped and he took several pictures. I found a couple of chiru horns. Jinpa told me Tibetans think scrapings of chiru horns mixed with hot water is a good cure for an ailing baby...[when I got home I learned that there are minerals in chiru horns that might actually have some benefit to a sick child].

We also saw several herds of kiang [wild donkeys] on our trip south. They so fit this place. There's some hidden connection between the Chang Tang and the kiang. I only see them running. And there's so much space here it seems that's what they should do. And they are very beautiful running....

The weather on the Chang Tang is so changeable. It was really windy here when we were setting up our tents. After lunch I went for a walk and it started to sleet. Now it's so warm in my tent I can smell my five-day socks. It's odd how unimportant cleanliness becomes when it's not an option. I have washed my hair twice in two weeks, changed  my socks once. 

I don't think I've written about what it's like to be lifted so far out of one's life and set down  in a totally different space. It really makes me appreciate my little life, ...just for the regular dream of daily life, for the joy of knowing and spending time with our children Sarah, Reed, and Justin, and our grandchildren--and our larger families.  It all seems like such a gift. As exciting as it has been to see the Aru Basin and the chiru, I think even more exciting is the realization that all we have to do is enjoy each other. Perhaps the gift of the chiru for me is the gift of joy in what is.


  1. Thank you for sharing this journey with us, Jackie. I <3 this line: "Perhaps the gift of the chiru for me is the gift of joy in what is." Talk about gravitas!

  2. It was such a huge experience, Mel. I feel like even after all this time I'm still processing. So it's been good for me to go back. I'm glad if it's interesting to you. Hope you are having a good summer.