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In a Backpack

Most of everything they carried needed to fit in a single backpack. Their boots carried their feet and their arms carried sleeves but everything else was small. They carried trail mix, cashews, KIND bars, Five Hour Energy, grape Gatorade, water filled canteens, apples, chunky peanut butter-jelly sandwiches, powdered Kool-Aid. They carried 5-Watt tactical flashlights with electrical tape on the sides, 3-inch Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, tablets for indigestion and apple cider vinegar, SPF 50 and bug repellent towels, bandanas, Fiber One bars, peanut M&Ms, cookies and honey roasted peanuts.


When they passed waterfalls and creeks filled with rainbow trout and catfish, hands pulled out disposable cameras and phones, ponchos and swimsuits. They broke oak tree branches for walking sticks and took the daisies growing nearby and made flower chains. Flannels and rain coats were wrapped around waists and laces tied with double knots.


Jack the red-head filled his deep cargo pockets with 10 oz. of sunscreen and Coppertone, he kept a wide brimmed sun hat atop his head. He carried Bat-Man comic books in his bag and a list of edible berries and flowers in the front pocket, binoculars and colorful pens to draw. Jack the brunette carried pockets filled with gummy worms, giving him the impression of very doughy legs. He carried Jolly Rancher-filled socks in the bottom of his bag, Hershey kisses in his Thermos, Skittles where the film cartridge for his camera was supposed to be. He carried his mother’s pride in his new found passion for “photography.”


Orleanna carried the baby, she carried her office back home and the firings, she carried each person that depended on her hands to bring their family back to life. She carried stethoscopes and scalpels, EPIC forms and sterile hallways. She carried many funerals. She carried grave dirt on her boots.


Jim Beam, a golden retriever, carried his yellow fur and plaid collar, and a pair of eyes for squirrel watching. He carried the yellow fuzz of a tennis ball in his mouth.


The baby was carried, and didn’t carry much herself. She did carry a tiny little tumor hidden away in the back of her brain, but she didn’t even know it was there. No one knew it was there. She carried the tang of medicine she had yet to taste on her tongue.


Once the top of the trail came into view and a hill was crested, a pond awaited their arrival. It carried cholera and Guinea worm, giardiasis and swimmer's ear. It carried little rainbows reflected on the wet mirror and ghosts of canoe bottoms. It carried thousands of gallons of water and the reflection of their barefeet.






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