Recently, my backpack fell off.
And now I’ll tell you why that is important. Since I have been in Japan for the past 5 months I have used the same backpack. Of course that isn’t a long time, but I use the shit out of everything I own, and I don’t replace anything until it is beyond replaceable. And this one literally fell off my back when I was in Kamakura, Japan. I had safety pinned it together a few weeks earlier but even that mending was beginning to sag. I could not deny that I had been refusing to get rid of it, because it was still young. And beyond that, in such a short time it had become... It's own thing.
I took this bag yesterday to my favorite place to hike. I took pictures of it with an unopened can of Suntory Highball. After a few hours, I finally placed it next to another discarded object that was so creepy and weird and beautiful that this seemed the only place designated for me to leave this backpack. So you can look at these pictures and see it as a goodbye to the things we use until they become uniquely unusable yet fully unique and completely distinguishable unto themselves. We want to give them a happy home. They are used by us until they become part of us, until they become important like people. People that we have to let go.
You can also read further and realize that this was the bag that I “stole” from a friend, a roommate, a kind soul. It wasn’t technically stealing because he was dead at the time. His name was Mike Ditto Wilkins, (Michael Ditto Wilkins) and he was a bag full of uniqueness that was forced to leave this earth, due to cancer, before I believe it should have been his time.
So, since you have read on you can see that this is an object that represents the irreplaceability of our friends, of our family, of our connections to what makes us all human and lovable. You must want to know a little more about the story.
I saw him die in front of me, surrounded by his family. I had my hands placed on his shoulder as his eyes went vacant, as he went dead.
We always try to move on, and anyone who has experienced death knows that that is a ridiculous thing we tell ourselves. We don’t move on, we just figure out a way to continue, until someone else we love passes and we are forced to do it again. But this is what we do, because what other option do we have? Life is beautiful, life is for the living, and it is inspiring, it is inspiring and painful.
I want this to be about the joy of life, and it is, but sometimes you have to see the joy of life through the pain, through the loss, that at least for now, while we remain mortal, we all have to deal with over and over again the older we get.
The problem with collecting an enormous amount of amazing friends is that many of them will die before you do. And you may find yourself with one of their belongings climbing a mountain in half the time you did last time because you need to get pictures of this objet in multiple memorable places before leaving it to decay in a remote forgotten place of a forrest before it gets dark, and before you get lost and perhaps die yourself.
The faster I moved the faster I started breathing, I moved quickly, like a god, and then at one point, my breathe was so stressed that I stopped, to breathe, and realized it wasn’t breathing I needed to do. It was crying. I cried for all the friends and family I had lost. I was alone in a dense, steep, forrest. Ditto's bag had became a vehicle for me to break down in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nobody, to place my hands on my knees and lean over like I was going to throw up, and just start crying for everyone I had lost so far. Not only people but events, patches of life changing moments, and hard decisions, and the loss not from death but from indifference and disagreement of people, of ideas. I thought about everything and nothing at once, emotions became the thoughts, and we all know emotions have very much disregard for reality, for sensibility. For this I cried. But then I moved on.
I completed my task before dusk. I said goodbye to my stolen bag from a dead friend. Me and the bag drank whiskey and Chuhais together, like Mike and I used to do in the dead of night. Now we do it again, but the dead of night is replaced with moments before dusk and my friend is replaced with the absence of my friend.
Mike, I leave you here in front of my favorite abandoned, bizarre, creepy, television in the middle of a forrest. I leave you here because I think that is a thing you would have found funny, pointless, full of horror, and lovely.