Long for experience, not things. What good are things if you have not leaned, with your back against the wall of a great city, watching the flood tide of humanity rush pass you, feeling energy from the brilliant, the brave and the demons who have walked the same streets for centuries. What good will things give you if you have not woken, awake and wide-eyed in terror, in the middle of a long night, knowing your own actions your own vices threaten to destroy you. What good are things if you have not sat up all night with a friend, rehashing the high highs and low lows, and then you see the pale light of the new day on the eastern horizon. When your only dream is a nightmare and your mind only computes minor chords, at least you know you are alive. Long for experience, not things.
Suppose your life a folded telescope
Durationless, collapsed in just a flash
As from your mother’s womb you, bawling, drop
Into a nursing home. Suppose you crash
Your car, your marriage—toddler laying waste
A field of daisies, schoolkid, zit-faced teen
With lover zipping up your pants in haste
Hearing your parents’ tread downstairs—all one.
Einstein was right. That would be too intense.X. J. Kennedy
You need a chance to preen, to give a dull
Recital before an indifferent audience
Equally slow in jeering you and clapping.
Time takes its time unraveling. But, still,
You’ll wonder when your life ends: Huh? What happened?
Sophomore year of college I saved up and bought a big Mountainsmith backpack. It has all the new fancy bells and whistles and from what I could tell, fit like a glove. Hundreds of miles through the Virginia and North Carolina sections of the Appalachian Trail that pack carried my gear. When I moved west it saw trips in Yellowstone and Glacier, the Elkhorns, the Snowies, the Absaorkas, up the Lima Peaks and down into the Missouri Breaks.
Last year that old trusted pack broke on a multiday trip into Glacier with C3. I tried to rig it back together but on a short trip into the Bob Marshall this past summer I sighed the sigh of resignation, knowing my beloved pack was not going to be on my next trip.
The other day a box showed up from REI. Smithers scored a sweet deal on a fancy-pants Osprey back. This past weekend I dropped my old Mountainsmith at the goodwill store. Goodbye old friend, many miles you caught my sweat, kept me warm and were with me as we discovered the most beautiful places on earth. Thank you.