Monday, October 13, 2014

61. How your Pack Fits You

You know that stereotype about how women love having shoes? Not every woman, of course, that's what makes it a stereotype and not cold hard fact. A cold hard fact would be to say that all women love having bones. Bones are pretty essential equipment, as far as human existence is concerned. Maybe they've never realized that they love having bones, but if you make a woman imagine what life would be like without having a skeleton, they will recognize that bones are pretty, y'know, nifty.

I heard a theory once that the reason that some women love shoes is that no matter what, once you're fully developed, your shoe size basically never changes. The shoes always fit, once you know your size. A lady might go through different dress sizes, or different pant sizes, and sometimes a lady might not always feel totally happy with how she feels about the way those sizes fit. And that's okay, as we've established. But shoes will always be the same size, and there's always at least one pair out there that could be considered "cute" to someone. To me, a cute shoe is one that is covered in mud and has paracord for laces, but each lady to her own.

If you've spent enough time with hikers, you may notice that when a hiker finds a perfect new backpack, it produces the same high-pitched keening of excitement that can be heard coming from ladies who find the shoes they love. You may also find that though hikers drag their backpacks through all sorts of trials, through sweat and snow and mud, they still love their backpacks fiercely. Their pack is their safety, their baby, their home.

Never in my life have I owned something that fit me more perfectly than my backpack. Over the course of 6 months, it became part of my body, and honestly, the shape of my hips changed to accommodate its weight. The first day it felt so heavy, so big and cumbersome that I could barely understand how I was supposed to carry it all the way to Maine. By the end it felt like an extension of myself, and even though I knew it must be heavy, I no longer felt the weight. It rested against my spine, it pushed me up mountains, and it allowed me to lean on it when I grew weary.

At the beginning of the trail, I was convinced that I would come up with a name for my pack. But I never did. I don't think I could name it, because it wasn't separate from me, it was part of me. It had everything I needed, and eventually, things I didn't even need, but wanted.

Would that I could seek to have a mind with so little clutter as my backpack, to find my thoughts with such an ease and grace.

This is Hancock - he had every hiker sign his backpack!

Clever Girl

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