Camouflage lets us hide in plain sight

Apr. 22, 2013 @ 08:00 PM

It used to be that camouflage was something worn to be hidden.
The concept is simple enough, and ever since man learned of the need to hide to hunt, he has used the concept of blending in with colors.
Skin tones stand out in nature, so man used natural vegetation, colors and eventually garments were faded and colored. Fast forward a number of centuries, a person, if so inclined, may now purchase camouflaged underwear.
Even though it is the season to hunt turkey, which requires being hidden, it seems that camouflage has climbed the fashion ladder and now is not limited to hiding amongst the brush.
Camouflage is hip. And camouflage now is pink, blue and even can be the color of a phone.
With good reason, there probably never will be a camouflage fashion designer who sends models down the runway, sporting the season’s hottest design. Instead, models appear to be just about everywhere in all shapes, sizes and ages.
As I devote a few hours during the course of a month to watch people, a measurable army of camouflage-clothed individuals is growing. For instance, I recently saw someone wearing a hat supporting an Ivy League school that was printed in camouflage.
In the parking lot of a shopping center, someone had stenciled a truck camouflage. At a local sporting event, athletic attire was colored with a camouflage background.
There are pink camouflage shirts worn by young girls, and sometimes the message on these shirts is not so camouflaged. I’ve seen camouflage bedding, towels, furniture, plates and the idea that a wallet can be camouflaged never has made sense to me.
Youngsters and parents wear camouflage, some wearing as much camouflage as one might need for a hunt.
While recently studying people, I came to the conclusion that wearing camouflage is a statement of sorts and, interestingly enough, the less camouflage worn may make the most statement of any.
Excuse those who live, breathe and wear camouflage almost as if it was required in a dress code. Excuse those who wear a camouflage shirt with a graphic that reads something of a general statement.
Instead, I am most keenly interested in those who wear the slightest amount of camouflage — this minimal amount says the most.
Take for instance the individual wearing the Ivy League hat with the college name across the camouflage background. Perhaps he did not attend the Ivy League school. Perhaps he does not hunt. Yet there is interest created, and I watch because all it took was camouflage and SAT scores twice those of mine.
Take for instance the youth who wears a pink shirt with camouflage lettering and there is a reminder to boys who think only boys hunt.
Take for instance the camouflage ink pen used by a man to sign deals, the camouflage strap attached to sunglasses, the tackle box, lunch box, toolbox or coffee cup.
There are patterns, colors, seasonal camouflage and brands. But when camouflage is worn outside of its intended environment or used in an application that does not involve hunting, a message of affirmation is delivered.
You see, even when properly camouflaged, movements and traits that make us human never are concealed fully.
Yet when we gesture less, boast less and draw less attention, it is possible that more is accomplished, both in the outdoors and in life.
When we act human, we look human. To that point, a human wearing camouflage still looks like a human.
In a crowd, sometimes even camouflage stands out.
Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may contact Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.