I have carried both our children for endless hours in a sling fabricated with a plaid fishermans skirt. The sling was becoming ratty the same way a favourite doll might have had its eyes loved off.
It was purchased years ago on crowded ferry dock while leaving Ko Tao on the other side of the world. The long journey taking me there had been one to mark my life in ways almost to profound to record. The sling had been a skirt, a table cloth, a blanket on chilly journeys, a headcover and now it like my life had morphed into a baby carrier. It had been soaked and cleansed of soil to varied to record, imbueing it with a karma befitting a humble peice of cloth which had done so much. Now we carried it everywhere with us, tucked neatly into our backpack in case a tired child might be in need of a lift.
Fast Forward to Spain.
We spied the immense 7th century church on the way by, high and distant on terraced hills, hunkered back to us in silent vigil. The view was spectacular with rolling hills as far as the eye could see, the church in the foreground and an ancient and tumbled down villaged tucked in the middle.
We returned to circle the hill trying to find in vain a road which would lead directly to the place. We finally gave up our search and decided to park the car and hike through the already cut bleached wheatfields. From the top of a domed hill directly beside the church, we gazed in all directions over the barren landscape imagining oursleves ancient warriors awaiting pagan enemies. About halfway down we found an intriguing series of body sized depressions with slightly heaped earth around the edges and lots of scattered stones but no more. The natural vantage point dictated the site of ancient stronghold, yet the ground was barren of clues save the odd bone. The church sat in mute observation seemimgly bemused at our scratchings as we scoured for evidence of a surely magical past.
Having exhausted our curiosity (and water supply) we waited for Bruce to hike back to retreive the car. Lily had peed her pants so was sitting bottom airing in the shade. I had put our backpack containing the sling under her tender little self to protect her from the pavement. When he arrived we loaded the car up with kids, hot and tired and ready for the air conditioning. Lily's rinsed pants hung tucked into the top of the closed window to air dry in the wind, flapping like a lost crow.
We did not discover that we had forgotten the back pack until the next day when we went to retireve something or other for our next adventure.
It was, we decided, worth it to make the trip back to try to retrieve the sling but when we arrived we discovered that the backpack was gone. Where did it go? Taken we assumed by some traveller like ourselves intrigued by the old church in the middle of nowhere and feeling the need for an unclaimed backpack. Feeling wistful and foolishly sentimental we headed back hoping the sling would continue to find a place of value in someones life, but also knowing that like the church's secrets the answer would never be yielded to us.