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My teacher, sleeping pad

(Written on the trek) Our first night of snow was a tough one. In the morning, a large portion of my things were cold and wet… including my sleeping pad. Thinking myself to be smart and proactive, once the snow stopped I pin my sleeping pad down to the rocky floor with other large rocks so it could have a chance to dry. In my snow filled haze I forgot to realize that this action, however genius it seemed, would make at least 10 (still counting) holes in my poor helpless pad.

 

The first night I realize this was another tough one I saw them in my tent, and spent two hours haphazardly gluing it together like a mad scientist, covering myself in the toxic stuff all the while. The attempt proved feeble that night as that he said required several hours to cure.

In the morning I promised myself that I would fix this godforsaken pad by the evening, once we arrived at our next camp. The pad was all I could think about all day long, dreading another glue filled night of confusion and pungent odor. Fast forward to that afternoon when I’m advised to dip my pad in the lake to see where the holes are. Once I put it under the surface fully inflated I’m shocked to see bubbles arising every which way. I have my pad dry overnight but it freezes… another day on the cold ground. Except there something different I’m not anxiously awaiting any repair. I make a nest out of everyone else’s extra clothing and drift off to sleep.

Fast forward to six nights later. Every night I make a minor repair on my pad, and every night it deflates at some point. It’s become a fun hobby of mine, seeing which holes I have time to find and patch up before it’s too late in the evening.

Before, my pad stayed inflated for 15 minutes at a time. Now, it lasts a good two hours. However, the biggest change has been within myself. I’m accepting the state of my tragic pad, and welcoming me experience with open arms, I felt my anxiety dissipate. Gone are the days when the pad consumed my waking hours, now replaced with the nightly slogan of another day another hole. This new understanding has let me a type of freedom from constricting and time consuming thoughts, and really is a small microcosm of my experience in the Rockies thus far. The days will play out as they do— we will get lost tired and sore—but the way I decide to greet these moments whether they are conventionally good bad easy or hard determines my true fulfillment. This way of thinking has consumed me in the most peaceful way, and for that I have no one but my sleeping pad to thank.

 

(fast forward another 8 days. After a brief sleeping bad joust, I slept on a new foam pad! Everyone was pretty involved at this point and it was a joyous moment.)