A Beard is like a Baby
A beard is like a baby. It’s born in early spring just as the snow is melting from the Smokies. It starts out so small and inconspicuous. It can be cute or it can be ugly, although the parent will always think it’s beautiful.
It needs love to grow. A proud dad (or mom) is always holding his beloved beard, urging it to grow strong and healthy. He must stoke it, comb it with his spork, clean it when it gets too dirty, and feed it when it gets too clean. Its favorite food is potato chips, and it always tries to save some for later.
In its adolescence, it tends to be cranky, scratchy, moody, itchy, and prickly. It has its good days, and it has its bad days. It can have a funky smell. It doesn’t bathe as regularly as it should, and it’s just starting to explore itself and its surroundings. It’s looking for the approval of its peers, and every head nod from a fellow beard makes its parent so proud. It’s taking shape and coming into its own.
By the time it reaches Maine, it’s in its prime. It’s captain of the varsity hiking team and dating the hairiest legs on the trail. Graduation is just around the mountain. When it reaches Katahdin, it’s done it, with honors. It will forever be able to write those six little letters after its name: AT NOBO.
It’s after this incredible achievement that it is ready to go off on its own. To leave the nest when its parent moves out of the woods and back into society. It’s strong. It’s wise. It’s handsome. But some parents just can’t let go. They love their beards too much and can’t bear the thought of being apart. These parents bring their beards with them everywhere, even if it might not be appropriate anymore. They won’t set their beard free.
It’s a tough thing to let a beard go. It’s been a part of you for a long time. You’ve watched it go from tiny stubble to wizard’s beard. You’ve made some mistakes, zipped it in a sleeping bag once or twice. But it was always there, something to be proud of.
TO ALL THOSE STILL ROCKING A 2015 THRU HIKE BEARD: I COMMEND YOU.
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Touching! Riveting! Tear jerker! I laughed, I cried, I did that weird in-between laugh cry thing. Makes me feel proud of all the beards I have met, and sad that (as a lady with semi-balanced hormone levels) I can’t grow one myself! I’ll never know what it’s like to earn that badge of honor, so cherish it!