My favorite article of clothing that I’ve had I don’t even own any more. I started wearing it when I was four and outgrew it when I was six or so. It wasn’t my Gymboree safari vest that I loved and wore during the spring and summer, though that one was a favorite because I figured there might be a chance that an archeologist would mistake me for an assistant and pick me up in a jeep and we’d go digging for dinosaurs together. The vest had animals on it which made it less professional looking but I figured that archeologists where so concerned with dinosaurs that they wouldn’t know the difference.
Nah, my favorite article of clothing came out during the fall, when we’d go hiking and attend Jr. Park Ranger programs at the local state parks. It was a flannel parka. Not the sort of hooded button-front shirt that streetwear brands tried selling a few seasons ago, but a parka that was thick enough to keep out the drizzles that fell through the pine canopy. That parka was dope and I knew it. It was the sort of thing that you could go chasing salamanders in the stream and not worry about it getting wet or you could wear around your grandparents even if they were the type who became upset when their grandchildren dressed rattily. I spent many afternoons running through the woods with my brother in it. It was very cliché in a Watterson sort of way. Those woods are beautiful.
When playing in those woods, I always had an unspoken rule. I would never let my house out of my sight. If I could see the yard and a patch of grey siding, then we were golden, but if I couldn’t, I would become uncomfortable and retrace my steps. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find my house once I had lost it. I was worried that if I made it back, the house might be burnt down or mom might have disappeared. I would rediscover landmarks and find my way, nothing changed. But now I am unsure why I needed this rule. I’m pretty good at direction and usually can find my way back once I have traveled out a distance. Looking back on it, I think that rule that I kept was probably bogus. I could have gone on many more exciting adventures, discovering all sorts of cool stuff, and still managed to find my way home. Untold adventures, I suppose.
People always talk about not losing themselves and remembering where they came from. Movies are all about this lesson. I understand where these people are coming from but I think they’re at the level I was at when I was four. They tend to be reluctant to let themselves out of their sights. They lack projection. They worry that if they do project, then they won’t be able to find their way back. However, once you travel one way and you don’t like where you’re at, you can always travel back to yourself. Things might look different. The lawn might be cut or the siding may have grown moldy; but home is still there. Decay and change might have happened even if you stuck around.
You’ll find your way back. You don’t need technology to remember how to track your steps and find your landmarks, but it helps if you have a fucking awesome flannel parka on. Wish someone would make one. I’d cop. Inna’ second.