Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bivy Sack

The last week has been busy. Lots of hard work on the property. With tons of unused vacation time, I burned some to spend fencing pasture, cutting down blackberries and pouring concrete. Much of my time now is spent indoors, communicating and subtly balancing the dynamics of 400 or so criminals (most with mental disorders) in an enclosed space. This week is a reminder of how good it feels to get up early in the morning and spend a whole day sweating in the sun and the wind. I miss living and working on a ranch.

Change of pace, today- we are due for a dump run, so we spent time cleaning out the garage. So many memories there. Climbing hardware that has sat unused for a couple of years. Caving outfits. Waterproof bags, covered in dust were a reminder of kayak camping years first open water kayak trip was forty miles solo of mixed lazy river and white water from the Willamette valley to the coast.

I threw away a long expired box of erythromycin, legacy of two weeks in Ecuador bringing medical supplies to villages and military bases on the Rio Napo.

The bivy sack got to me, for some reason. We'd been doing a lot of hiking, bike trekking, kayak camping. 'We' is a little off- much of it was solo. I'd just gotten a real job and the bivy sack was the sign of the transition- I could now afford something that provided great shelter and could be slung from a bike or stowed in a kayak without taking up space or weight. I never used it much- the job that made it possible also took a lot of time and involved switching from shift to shift and changing days off, weaning me from the few climbers and recreational explorers who were willing to play at my level. I set it up, just to make sure it was all there, then stowed it away.

So many dusty things in that garage- head lamps, harnesses, crampons. The goretex cover that Kami made for my sleeping bag. Combined with the fleece insert (which I didn't find) it transformed a mediocre, inexpensive bag into something that could handle snow camping in comfort. A gift of great love from someone who knew me well. An old love-letter too, that I had been too self-absorbed at the time to recognize for what it was, only seeing a friend's stab at poetry. A pair of small knives to match a kukri I can't find. A dutch oven full of parafin that we used to melt to harden leather for armor. An Argentinian bayonet. Two bags of obsidian and knapping supplies (I never spent the time to get decent at that). A collection of fire starters including the cool military sun screen that acted as an alcohol gel and could be used as lighter fluid or a fuse. Threw away some military stuff that I've been keeping for too long and for no reason.

It's good to clean things out, good to dust off the memories once in a while. Today was beautiful day for it.

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