I made this collage about five years ago and it is one of those things that could probably be thrown out--but I don't because it reminds me of who I am, where I'm from, and what I'm capable of.
The picture in the upper right is a photo of me when I was 18 and had just moved to Oregon. I hiked the PCT almost every weekend. And when I wasn't doing that I was hiking trails along the ocean.
The photo below it is of me standing on the roof of the house I built. When we started (with the basement) I was afraid of heights. But by the end the roof rafters became my favorite place.
There's a picture of my strong-stout-Austrian great-great grandmother holding my great-grandma. My great-grandma lived to be nearly a 105 and was able to care for herself until the end. She was also the most content woman I ever met.
There's a picture of Gandhi and Amelia Earhart. There's one of Kali Ma, the ocean, and of me and my old dog Japhy. There's a picture of Buddha drawn by a Nepalese child that I was befriended by and another of when I lived in the desert. There's a photo of an owl because I was born in winter.
In the picture in the middle of the bottom row, the one where I'm wearing a white wooly sweater, I stand with my arm around a girl whose family I stayed with while in the Himalayas. She was feisty...got mad easily and one night threw pots and pans in the kitchen. Such crashing! We became fast friends and would have been happy to temporarily trade lives.
There are pictures of strangers whose lives have inspired me, pictures with friends, one that I'm hanging out the window of a train, one that I'm sitting silently on a mountain top, and in another, paddling a kayak over water smooth as glass.
There are a lot of reasons I don't throw this thing away--even if it has started to fade.