Gear. Check. Heart. Check.

May 2, 2018

 

 

 

 

"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

 

                                                                                       "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry

 

  

Today I was gear-checking.  I gave in to the reality of seasonal change.  It's May 1, and while it snowed today I know that Winter is past.  So I tuned up and put up my Winter stuff, and I started sorting through gear I would need and want for the Summer season. The sadness of putting up skis was mitigated by the smell of tents and the hope of open trails.

 

When I sort through gear from one season to another I get oddly nostalgic.  While I love new stuff, I have certain things that I have held on to for years and years.  Truth be told, I have an MSR multi-fuel stove that I bought when I was 22.  I am 59 now.  I prefer the new stuff, but the old stuff gets me thinking, remembering.


And so we will often check our gear.  Or we should.  And our gear will harbor stories and memories of certain trips and adventures and "epics." Could we just allow ourselves to heart-check as we gear-check?  Can we let ourselves consciously recall that we venture out into the "natural world" because we know, or believe, that it's good for us?  

 

So open your pack wide this month.  For just a moment breathe deep--breathe deep and smell the memories and let your gear check be a heart check too. Test your stove this month, before you need it.  Set up the tent, again, just to air it out.  Get out your sleeping bag and curl up--and then remember how it feels to travel so simply, and that such simplicity can make a heart feel whole.  And free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bill Harper, the founder and director of Pilgrim Trekking, has been working with young people in the wilderness for three decades. As an Episcopal Priest Bill developed a parish-based wilderness program for the young people in his own parish, a program that has changed and sustained parish youth for 20 years…

 

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