I have hung onto that old pack since I got it in Bozeman, MT. It is hand-made by a local and so durable it has not a single popped stitch to show for its 18 years. It has one broken zipper, to be fair and not drift into hyperbole. It is 5300 cubic centimeters, forest green, with an extra-thick patch of military grade Cordura on the bottom and now- covered in laundry lint from the dryer vent.
I suppose it is the way of things that this once rebellious and profane venue turn into the maudlin vita of a man currently sheltering from a chill rain on a day off, when any number of noble challenges blurt raspberries through their hands taunting me to come outside. I may yet get off this couch and run one of them squealing down the block, cuffing its ears and kicking it in the pants. Could be a bike ride. Could not be a bike ride. One must wait and see.
So this backpack– it carried me to pastures to watch comets, deep beneath the sedimentary bed and limestone tunnels of the continental divide, in and out of dozens of rental homes and relationships. I crossed many borders, some barely. This pack strapped snug to my hips and chest, my hands free and available to brush aside a hand reaching for my pocket, or to hold as in prayer, pleading for empathy.
I can only speak for myself, but I think this is likely true of anyone. You have in your closets, garages, and beneath the bed items so stewed in your sweat that they are now more of you, than not.
I filled it this morning as though I was going on a trip. Tent, tarp, pad, stove, gas, thermals, coffee, butter.
It is going to someone I doubt I will meet. My journey is far from over, but I hung those guns up years ago. I hope this pack helps this person who is getting it. I hope that they strap it on and feel the subtle knowledge in its fabric. I wish they knew that it carried one traveler (with the courage to walk out a door in the first place) into unknown world and all the way back to a warm, safe place, where I am not alone, and I have extra sticks of butter.
Hold and maintain.