Sir Ed was not my hero. I remember a childhood spent scrounging around the bookshelf in the hall devouring the adventures of Herzog on Annapurna, Charlie Upham during the war and Dingles expedition on Jannu's "Wall of Shadows". The blue bound statuesque copy of "Nothing Venture, Nothing Win" was always there, but never won the battle for my attention. Sir Ed was mainstream. He was in the newspapers, on the TV, and in the every day discussions around our dinner table. My reading was devoted to escapism, to heroic figures on the edge of society, to myth. Sir Ed was very much real.
I finally read some of Sir Ed's books in the last few years. The experience was nostalgic, familiar, like the smell of a favourite old armchair. His narrative voice echoed my conscience, reminding me of the ideals I am directed to strive for as a New Zealander. Be humble, Be strong, Accept new challenges and Give passionately to those in need. Sir Ed inherited the roughcast of these values but through the actions of an amazing life, beset by great tragedy and adversity, inadvertently sculpted them into something beautiful.
Through his humility, Sir Ed is an inspiration to all those New Zealanders at work unseen in their communities. Through his strength he is a benchmark for all those toiling to achieve their goals. Through his willingness to accept challenges he gives hope to our innovaters and adventurers that a kiwi can do anything and through his work with the people of Nepal he is a figurehead for New Zealanders out there in the world helping those less fortunate.
Sir Ed is now my hero. I am now prepared to accept his moral compass. How lucky we are to have a hero, that lived to a great age and fulfilled his lifes work, layering his early achievements with humanity and wisdom. How lucky we are to have a hero disassociated with political, religious and corporate power structures who can be a shining light on our future path. How lucky we are to have a hero that will only grow in stature as he charges hellbent into myth, god-willing and crevasses permitting.
(this and the next few posts are from another blog I started that faded out quickly)