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  • Aram Mitchell

old green backpack

I have this old green backpack that I’ve carried on trails, in deserts out west and in mountains out east, during the last couple of decades. When I hike with it there's this moment, a day or two into the trek, when the pack begins to creak. It makes me think of the sway of saddle bags on a horse, the noise of leather rubbing on leather. That moment comes as the heft of my provisions settles in with the aches in my shoulders and hips. With the creak I begin to feel powerful. Not invincible, but entirely capable.

The weariness from walking the trail doesn't disintegrate. The aches don't disappear. But I experience a shift toward a fresh rhythm of being and awareness. I find myself tuned in.

I notice how the stones burst with color when they’re kissed by the wet of the river. I see the way the trembling leaves on the trees play with the sunlight to make shadow puppets on the canyon wall. I can feel the wind announce itself with authority as it brushes by my ears.

When I settle into the rhythm of my stride, of my day’s endeavor, the world invites me to share in its vitality.

Wherever you are on the trail — whether you’re just hoisting the pack, whether you’re struggling through that first stretch of terrain, whether you’re settling into the sway and the creak of a long carry — I hope you find a moment or two today where life invites you to take note of its sustaining rhythms.

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