Hopeful Dreams and Heavy Pack

 

Today I leafed through The Fields of Noon, an outdoors-themed book by the author better known for her Disney-adapted The Incredible Journey. This book’s most recent copyright (my edition, anyway) coincides with the close of the baby boomer birth years. But across the decades I find another woman I like, one who packs for a long walk with the same philosophy as me:

…It took me nearly ten minutes to assemble all the necessary gear for an afternoon’s walking in the bush…Into the pockets went shells, insect repellent, chocolate, cigarettes, silk scarf, pencil, notebook, and a tired hunk of garlic sausage; attached to my belt were a knife (mushrooms, etc.) and a small prospector’s pick (geology); over my shoulders were slung a camera (for photographing mushrooms) and field glasses (distant birds?); I carried in one hand a gun (partridge for dinner), and in the other a chip basket (rocks and mushrooms). I looked like a mobile Christmas tree…

Alright, I admit she’s got me beat–for a long walk that includes civilization in its route, I may have my iPhone (for pictures or emergencies), money (coffee or water), dog poop pickup bags, collapsible dog bowl, jacket, keys, bird guide, binoculars (and dog, of course!). But no gun, no cigarettes, no knife, and certainly no silk scarf–maybe I should kick it up a few notches and go more Sheila Burnford, striving for the  look that cries out for tinsel and colored lights to complete the ensemble. She died in 1984, at only 66, and I am so grateful I got to meet her, at least through her words.

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