Most people who hike and backpack have at least one water bladder. I have at least two, and I think somewhere in the recesses of my long living 04 Cavalier a third one lurks awaiting it’s turn. We’re used to carrying them, filling them, filtering water into them, cleaning them and filling them from the kitchen sink before we head out for a day trip. They’ve been widely available for so long that people on the trail rarely ask what that hose is leading from your day pack.
My day job is working for our city’s Parks and Recreation department and like nearly all city rec programs in the United States we’re in the middle of summer day camp season. Yesterday we all went on a field trip to a massive free play carnival with water slides, tug of war, First Tee from the PGA, demonstrations from partner organizations, obstacle courses and so on. Knowing full well I’d not be sitting down for several hours (basically until we were waiting for the buses to return to take us back to our home parks) I filled up my big 3 liter bladder along with a reusable bottle and got to it. When we were all gathered together in the shade of a basketball pavilion and the buses made their slow (yet efficient) parade into the pickup lot I took a few more sips from the bladder’s hose and some how got the instant attention of most of the six to eight year olds in our group. “What is that?” “How does it work?” “Where’d it come from?” “How long have you had it?” “What’s it called?” So I opened up my day-pack and pulled out the bladder, and showed them how the top opened to fill it with water and how the hose came out the bottom. Since they couldn’t see water flowing through the tube when I drank from it I blew air back into the nearly empty bladder instead which they found very funny to watch.
We need to remember the wonder that is in small things, be it something as simple as a water bladder, acorns falling from a tree in a park, or the tracks we find in the mud from a sprinkler head. Sometimes we need to get down at the eye level of a six year old and see what it is they see, and forget what it is we already know ourselves.