And I suppose that's what water does for us before we jump in: if we pause and take a moment to look, it provides us with reflection.
So I find myself doing the same, and will share with you pieces of my first Wonder: Everest, before I jump into my second, the Great Barrier Reef.
"...The sun shone on us all day, not a cloud in the sky, and every face we encountered offered a smile in our direction. I was in a state of awe, of such complete and perfect gratitude. We wound our way up and down the endless stairs that make up Nepali Flats... and everywhere, everywhere, boulders were painted white, with etched Sanskrit prayers in black standing from the rock - a visual braille. It struck me that the trail itself is a prayer, each step an offering. I spent the day in a humble state, thinking of every single soul that helped me get here. I dedicated each breath, all my efforts, to those I know won't be able to walk this path themselves... This place is magic."
Hiking Kala Patthar Peak one month ago, I'd never heard a quiet like that, a silence so complete. There were no birds, no creatures making a peep. No wind. And even voices seemed to be swallowed up into the void. It was like the mountains and ice absorbed everything. Even though it was cold and approaching sub-zero temperatures quickly, I was comfortable. Peaceful. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was a feeling of being held.
Everest (Chomolungma to the Sherpa Clan since they originally came from Tibet) certainly didn't look like the highest peak in the world from that vantage point; she was actually protected on all sides by neighbouring mountains. And I kind of liked that sort of subtlety. Everest doesn't crash around being all loud and obvious, shouting at everyone that she's the biggest mountain on Earth. Quite the opposite, in fact: Chomolungma is classy. Demure, even. She surrounds herself with stunning peaks, let's them stand front and center, and looks on proudly. She doesn't need to push her way to the front to get noticed; her existence, what she was created to be by nature, simply commands it.
I liked her style.