“Don’t you trust me?”
My brother was holding two camelbak water packs that were hooked together through some tubes and a filtration system. He had just finished telling me that the contaminated water was supposed to be put in the blue bag (blue meant no) and then it passed through the filter into the green bag (green meant go). It seemed insane to put the fate of my drinking water in the hands of a tiny plastic piece. My skepticism also was not helped by the fact that my mother had just finished telling me a story about how when her father led a trip, campers put together the filtration system incorrectly and everyone had diarrhea for a month. I looked from my mom back to my brother and said, “I’m not going.”
In two days we’re supposed to be leaving for a camping trip in the Adirondacks and I’m just a tad nervous that I’m going to die in the wilderness. My list of concerns is the following: bears, parasites, drowning, snakes, diarrhea, my brother’s cooking, and well let’s just stop there because the list seems to continue forever. My brother came to me nearly two months ago proposing this trip and at the time it just seemed to be one of those adventures that we would never get to. But after a few weeks he kept telling me details and today I was handed two dry bags and told to pack.
It’s not that I don’t trust my brother it’s just that he used to set ping pong balls on fire and throw them at our friend Karl, a friend who is also joining us on this excursion. And it’s not that I don’t trust Karl it’s just that he almost blew his hand off with a firework, and my brother had to drive him to the hospital. These are my people. It doesn’t matter how much my brother rambles about camping gear, these are the images that will always be in my mind which may be unfair but that’s the unfortunate burden of knowing someone for your whole life.
I’m not really a kids kind of gal but the one thing I’ve always envied about them is their ability to trust. An ability that has not yet been damaged by the harsh lessons the world will eventually teach them. Kids run and leap knowing full well that some adult, who has hopefully been keeping an eye on them, will catch them. Now that kind of leap seems almost impossible. At some point each child grows up and figures out that there are some risks that should not be taken.
The argument that can be made is that when you grow up it’s no longer wise to trust blindly. We’re a little too heavy to be caught, and so it becomes time to look after yourself. My dad says, “trust but confirm.” Confirm on the ideas that you would like to believe. Trust is a beautiful things but after a certain age it becomes a privilege. It’s something that you have to build with people. And because I ultimately trust my brother I’m heading north into the wilderness. Send help if you don’t hear anything from me on Monday.