Losing “Old Friends”

By , June 15, 2012

Developing a good attitude toward possessions is key to living the way we do. However, some things we own leave me feeling their loss when they go.

On Saturday we hiked out to go to town for some errands. It promised to be a warm, sunny day, so instead of wearing a jacket and hat, I stuck the hat in the jacket pocket, and draped the jacket over the top of my pack. As we started up the trail, Michelle noticed the jacket and almost warned me that it might fall off. I stepped aside and let her lead the way. That’s the last either of us have seen of the jacket.

missing outfit

My jacket, my hat, and me in happier times (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

That afternoon, when we put on our packs to hike home, I realized the jacket was missing. We searched the car for it, but we had to hurry to beat the tide, and soon gave that up. Thinking back to when we had last seen the jacket, we assumed it had dropped off the pack, and expected to find it on the way home. We had to take a different route across the bay, because of the tide, but we scanned as we crossed, and kept a sharp eye out all the way home. When we got to the cabin, we called each of the places we had visited in town to ask if they’d found the jacket. After thoroughly searching the car the next day, and several trips to the bay to walk the creek’s edges and tide lines, notifying the neighbors, and posting a “Listener Personal” on the local radio station, there have still been no sightings. The jacket and cap seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

I love my clothes, but these two items were particularly special to me. I can’t remember how many years I’ve owned that fleece jacket. I think I got it when we first moved back to Alaska, 20 years ago. It’s the perfect weight for Southeast Alaska’s summers. I wore it almost every day between March and October.

I only had the 8 panel cap about 6 years, but I feel its loss more keenly. I used to a wear cap like this as a kid, until I lost it overboard on a state ferry when some friends held me out over the rail (but that’s a different story). When we moved to the homestead in 2006, I noticed that my usual headgear, a baseball hat, kept me from seeing above me in the forest. The standard ball cap bill was too long to allow peripheral vision overhead, where the snags and widow makers lurk. An 8-panel cap would serve better, and a wool one would also be warmer. I found an excellent cap, and wore it regularly until last weekend. Now it’s gone.

The thing that especially hurts about losing this jacket and cap is that I had no need of either that day. I carried them along because I’ve learned from childhood to prepare for eventualities when leaving home. The weather turns quickly, especially here, so we plan accordingly. In this particular instance, I lost my comfy old clothes as a result.

They could still show up. They have to be somewhere. I’m afraid they may have fallen into the creek and drifted out to sea. I’m a bit haunted by what might have happened to them. In this environment, it’s all too likely that I’ve passed them many times within just a few feet. I hope I get them back!


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