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Ode To The Daypack

michael-olwylers-day-packWritten by Michael Olwyler —

Flung, dropped and dragged, the daypack has risen throughout the world to be the everyday carrier.

Schoolboys, travelers, pregnant moms, and businessmen can’t do without them bumping along on their backs, arms or chests. They carry our essentials, get crushed in subway doors, float down rivers after being carelessly dropped overboard, settle with a sigh when they are flung on the apartment floor after a long day on their person’s back.

They have compartments and pockets, zippers and Velcro, colors and labels, insignias and straps. They have scars like a history of life on the go: a tear from last year’s roll down the talus slope; scratches from this morning’s scramble thru the scrub brush looking for berries; a canine puncture where it was used as defense against the neighbor’s loose bull terrier.

Our daypacks are gentle, pliant, oafish things we come to love, utilitarian rags that we can’t bear to part with, stylish flashes of color that wake up our eyes. They go everywhere without a whimper – do they have a choice? – and though their zippers break, buckles split and fabric tears, they just see it as the cost of a few months or years of being part of the whirlwind adventure that people experience called life.

But always, they have space inside. It’s what makes them…well, a daypack! They also have a quiet mind, and accept whatever happens as though it had been planned that way. They find peacefulness and a voluminous silence, though they are stuffed full with a girl’s schoolbooks and makeup, or lying empty, stored in a dark hall closet by a rock climber.

The hiking season may be over soon but the ski season is coming. So, next time you pick up your daypack to head out to the woods with a friend, give that daypack a gentle shake, and ask her with wonder in your voice, “Are you ready for today’s adventure?”

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