While I'm waiting for Bruce to call I thought I'd explain the decor on my porch. When Bruce went to Nepal last fall to climb Manaslu, he brought home some Tibetan prayer flags. I decided I wanted to hang them up in honor of Bruce's trip to Everest, so here they are.
The five colors of the flags represent the elements and are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue (sky/space), white (air/wind), red (fire), green (water), and yellow (earth). There are prayers, blessings, and mantras (among other things) printed on each flag. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to 'gods,' a common misconception, rather the Tibetans believe that as the flags flutter in the breeze, the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all. They are also thought to calm the elements, and are often hung on high mountain peaks to "pacify" the mountain. This, I'm thinking, is a very good idea.
Prayer flags in Kathmandu
Prayer flags at Everest base camp.