“I sympathise. But it’s time to say goodbye”.
“After all we’ve been through it’s just so sad to say goodbye”, I responded.“I thought we would have many more years together, walking the trails in sun, rain and snow, carrying my kit for days on end”.
“Times change and now change has come to this. I know it’s hard to part. It’s time to move on and, whatever memories you have of times tough and good, it really is time for change. Yes, I sympathise with your feelings but it’s best it happens”.
I knew she was less sentimental than I was. She could so easily move on. A number of times I had seen her pack up and go take a new job in a distant city. I admired her ability to do this, to start again. I had seen her part with possessions, too, even when they held good memories. She had that rare ability to let go.
“You know this old pack of yours’ weighs over two and a half kilograms”, she said, pointing out something I was aware of. “And you’re getting older so the less weight you have to carry, the easier it is on the trail. So, after all you’ve been through with it, after years of good service, it’s time to move on to the new, lightweight pack and say goodbye to this heavy old one. One and a half kilograms beats over two and a half on your back, any day”, she emphasised in her usual objective, unsympathetic way.
And, with the decision made, it was into the store to walk out with a new pack. And, yes, it was much lighter. That I knew would equate to greater distances covered on the trail and less fatigue.
But that old, heavy pack. It still sits in my cupboard. Unused, it is still attached to me through those invisible ties of nostalgia, memory of days on the trails, and sympathy.