As my header photo suggests, I’ve been obsessed with Mount Everest for a long time. I’ve read dozens of books about the mountain and the people who have climbed it, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time and money to visit the mountain from both sides – the trails and base camps in both Nepal and Tibet. (The header photo was taken in 2011 from North Base Camp in Tibet.) Today, like many others, I am asking myself if the mountain gods are angry at the desecration and commercialization of the mountain? Or is Mother Earth in general sending us a message about the care we take of our planet?

We can’t help but ponder these types of questions at times like this, but my bigger concern right now, in the aftermath of Saturday’s terrible earthquake, is the state of Nepal in general. Anyone who has spent time in Kathmandu or the surrounding valley knows all too well the subpar construction there and the very meager public funds and organization that exist to address this kind of calamity.

And anyone who has spent time in Nepal also knows the warmth, generosity, sweetness, and kindness of the Nepali people. My heart breaks for them right now. At the same time that we make noise about the bad karma of staying on the mountain, we also have to think about the fact that the lifeblood for many Nepalis and their families is the trekking and tourism industry. It is a cruel reality, brought home at times like this.

What are the right answers and why is life so damn complicated??