I want a love like my favorite flannel shirt. Soft and cozy, comfortable. Something you can wear every day, and that never goes out of style, a true classic plaid. A shirt that smells like fresh air, like firewood, like dirt.
It might have some holes, and some worn places, but they’re worth sewing up and patching. The sleeves might be a little too short, but they’re usually rolled up to my elbows. It’s my default, what I reach for in the morning when it’s chilly, or on the weekend to go outside, or in the evenings to lounge on the couch, reading. It feels right.
I want a flannel that makes me feel confident and capable and warm. The one I can wear and do anything. Climb a 14er. Stack some wood. Read a book. Travel the world. Write a story in front of the fire. Go out to dinner. Walk the dog. Anything at all.
I want a flannel that even when buttoned properly lays cockeyed, like my crooked ski jump nose, the one he said would kill a skier if they went off it. He didn’t wear flannel, didn’t understand its comfort. He was Polartec—lightweight and warm, but thin. He was the color that went out of style, the burnt orange of leaf puke. We stood too close to the fire and melted a hole too big to be patched.
My dad wears flannel, and my earliest memories are of his shirts, of cold days out in the snow and warmer days mowing the lawn, of stacking firewood and walking through the forest, the smell of loam and tree bark. His shirts were comfortable and worn. They showed me how to work hard, and how to love the outdoors, and how to be a good person.
I want a flannel that goes everywhere with me, that makes me happy and keeps me warm. A shirt that you can wear every day, 10 days in a row while camping, or on that long day of climbing outside. It’s worn, and it’s smelly, but it’s yours. And it’s love.
That’s not too much to ask of a shirt, is it?
Music by The Flannel Attractions, a band from Jackson, Wyoming. You should listen to their music on these videos, and then go to their website and buy their cd. Because I really like it, so therefore you will too. Obviously.