The world has changed completely between Pack Animal issues, and it’s given me a chance to think about the lifestyle we, as packers, have chosen. In his Manifesto, Paul Kingsnorth writes that “the pattern of ordinary life, in which so much stays the same from one day to the next, disguises the fragility of its fabric. How many of our activities are made possible by the impression of stability that pattern gives?”
I am heartened by the messages I’m receiving from members of our packing community. Events have been cancelled, outfitters’ seasons are at risk, and everyone is on guard against an aggressive virus. But the values we share, the reasons we became packers, are showing themselves to be good and true. Perhaps the choices we’ve made have given the fabric of our daily lives a bit more durability than other choices we could have made, other lives we could have lived.
We chose to live in ways that keep us close to nature and the great outdoors, and we value the animals that get us there under our own power. Many of us make our living in this community—some by designing and building gear, some by guiding trips, some by breeding and training animals—and we enjoy the work we do. We value being a member of a small and tightknit community, and we take pleasure in working with our hands and building something, raising something.
It is a privilege to live this way, and I am hearing the gratitude you are feeling in your messages, as well. We are grateful for our animals, for our trails, for our work, for the wide open spaces in which we spend our time.
This packing season, as well as the next, will most likely look very different than usual: we may be staying closer to home so as to not put undue pressure on communities that sit at the gateways of our more glamorous public lands; group sizes might be smaller; business might be a bit slow. But our priorities, the things we value, will still be here when we come out on the other side of this thing.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay outside.
Alexa Metrick, Editor