Friday, May 6, 2011

The House Respires


Black Mountain College photo courtesy Flickr

On this season’s fourth, and I hope last, trip to the Great Big Hiking Co-op, I lingered in the electronics department. It’s a hoot that there is an electronics department. Field guides used to recommend cutting conifer boughs for a really comfortable night in the field, a signal mirror was one’s best bet in an emergency, and not many years before that, authorities started to worry if a party was a year overdue. Now we tiptoe up trails carrying everything but air, if we're not headed for Everest.

Preparing for my first hike was a formative housekeeping experience. Over the decades and in nearly thirty domiciles scattered around the country, I have learned that furnishing with field essentials simplifies managing space, reduces maintenance, and creates a resilient, supportive matrix for a rewarding daily life.

Besides, it’s fun. The essentials evolve the way grass grows: a smaller, lighter, more able design emerges to displace the dry husk of obsolescence. New gear expands interior space, new uses fill it up again.

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