Not a Pair of Clippers, Nor an Insta-Cold Icepack

A few days ago a soft and pliable package arrived in the mail. Though I could have, I’d not ordered anything from REI.

Toward the beginning of Step into Nature, I consider what to carry when walking in nature and what best left behind—both the actual objects we might carry in our pockets as well as that which gets brought along, knowingly and unknowingly, via heart and mind. “Here’s a list of useful things I’ve never carried along but might: a collapsible ladder to get up close and personal with the otherwise unreachable, a foldaway hammock in case a nap is suddenly needed, clippers for the poison oak when going off-trail, an insta-cold ice pack in case of a fall, a set of colored pencils in every hue and a pad of drawing paper…” Of all those items, can you guess the one I’d most truly like to have? Might it be the one you’d like also?

In his endorsement of my book, author David Rothenberg said, “I shall never head for the woods without a ladder and a hammock again.”

There was no ladder in that package. Ah, but a hammock there was—a gift from Karen, a young woman, who’d sent this gift to me. Karen had been my poetry student when she was a little girl, a student who wrote these words when she was about 8: “Future is inside me, right beyond that storm of hope.” Karen and her mother came to my Seattle event. We’d not seen each other for about 20 years! And then, who appeared as if by more magic at my collage show reception and workshop? Karen’s sister, Julie, who’d also been my student! Not only did she come to the show she purchased a collage called, “Forest Honeymoon.”

The hammock will fit easily in my fanny pack and will serve me well after a long walk when a nap is in order. What unexpected thing might you carry for a walk in the woods or out in the meadow or along a beach-side trail?