Always and Forever, Hikers

I want to tell you about Positive Bombardment.

First, though, a bit of background. In college, I co-managed an outdoor leadership program. I don’t love walking up mountains. I don’t love sleeping under tarps. I don’t love eating tepid oatmeal.

But that was all secondary. In this program, what came first – Always and forever, Hikers – were the people. So, a few days after our trip on the Appalachian Trail, we hikers Positively Bombarded the people we climbed the mountains alongside.

Someone in the group with a nice off-campus living room would host. We showed up with gluttonous snacks. One person was chosen and each and every one of us Bombarded that person with all the things we admired, appreciated, adored about her or about him.

So, all the love that we can bottle up in some non-vulnerable place and only uncork for toasts or birthday notes or eulogies? That stuff was laid bare and beautiful in Positive Bombardment.

Then, the Bombarded – who was often wordless or crying or whatever we are when we feel seen and known – chose the next person to Bombard. And on it went, deep, deep into the evening.

Give me the mountains, the tepid oatmeal, the tarps that never keep the rain out, I’ll take it all to get to this, I used to think afterward.

But what I want to tell you about Positive Bombardment is this: we don’t need any of that – not a single compass, carabiner, or fistful of GORP to make it work.

What we need, I think, is the willingness – which is uncommon and brave and also in each one of us – to put our admiration, our appreciation, our affection out into the air. Uncork it. Let it bubble up and out and spill all over the place. Let those we hike alongside know how they’ve moved us.

Which is another way of saying, Let the Positive Bombardment rip. Always and forever, Hikers.

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