Sunday, May 10, 2015

An Ode

You became my adventuring companion nearly twenty years ago, accompanying my on a canoe trip. Since that September, you have been on nearly every adventure I have sought. You have sailed the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. You have backpacked in multiple states, sometimes as my only companion on an otherwise solo trip. You have helped to build a hospital in the Dominican. You watched an old woman's face light up with joy and awe when seeing the work your team complete to make her house livable again more than a year after Katrina.

You have explored Mayan ruins and current Mayan village life in Belize. I think you skipped the European trips as staying in heated rooms is too civilized for your tastes.

But, you have been with me every step in my career, including the current adventure in Africa. You have been a pot holder, a wash cloth, a sweat rag, and a handkerchief. You have hidden dirty hair and helped keep hair clean when dust and dirt were flying. You have filtered debris from water so I can drink and out of air so I can breath.

Wearing my bandanna while walking in Buthe Butha, Lesotho.
You, my dear bandanna, are a jack of all trades.

You, my dear bandanna, are beginning to show your age; wearing thin and starting to tear.

You, my dear bandanna, cannot and will not be replaced by coarser, stiffer bandannas.

You see, my dear bandanna, you are not simply my dear bandanna. You are cherished and loved more than all other bandannas; more than the colorful and creative ways emblazoned with “YMCA Camp Pendalouan,” more than the nautical one Ashley gave me, more than any other could be.

But, my dear bandanna, you are in fact not my bandanna at all.

You were given to me for that canoe trip nearly twenty years ago. Mom offered you to me most likely to avoid spending more money meeting the school's list of required items.

And, in the way of teenagers borrowing things from their parents, I kept you. I adopted you for your superior softness. You really are better than any other bandanna I have encountered.

But what I did not know at fifteen is that you are more than just a bandanna. You are my piece of home. You are the physical representation of my mother with and supporting me in these incredible moments of my life.

And maybe that is why you did not join me in Europe, my dear bandanna. Because I traveled with family and you knew your support would not be needed in the same way.

So thank you, Mom, for the bandanna you lent me nearly two decades ago. It has been with me unconditionally, just like you. It may just be a scrap of soft, blue cotton, but to me it represents so much more. Every time I use it, I think of you and your unwavering support of my thirst for experiences, travel, and adventure. Every time I use it, I think of your love.


I love it and I love you. Happy Mother's Day!

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You should choose as your life's work whatever feels the most like play.
-Harvey Oxenhorn