. Alfred Prufrock, the protagonist of a famous poem, measured out his life with coffee spoons. I’ve measured out mine with knives. In the 60-plus years I’ve been mucking about in the outdoors, and in the nearly 60 years I’ve been collecting knives, I’ve had hundreds pass through my hands, and they’ve served as a kind of calendar. Here are a few of them. April 1952: The Kiddie Ka-Bar When I was 10, I was sent off to summer camp in the wilds of Maine. Part of the camp’s program was to get us out in the wilderness with inadequate equipment and have us travel by canoe and by foot. We slept in the rain without tents. We cooked over wood fires, and I found that no matter where I parked myself, that was where the smoke would blow. Loons bellowed at us in the night. Mosquitoes ate us in the evenings. We saw a moose drinking in the shallows. We saw a canoe that had hit a rock sideways in the rapids and split in two. Our head counselor was a flyfisherman. He’d cast with his bamboo rod in the mornings and catch trout for breakfast. We’d knock out the guts, put bacon in the body cavities, wrap them in tinfoil, and lay them on coals. I thought it was all terrific. I still do. A few months before I headed for the Great North Woods, my parents bought me a Ka-Bar sheath knife. I already owned a Boy Scout folding knife, but I pointed out noisily that it was unequal to the wilderness, and did they want their kid to die for lack of blade length? So they caved and bought me the Ka-Bar. It has a trailing point blade of just under 4 inches and a leather-washer handle that is so small I can only get three fingers on it today. It looks like it was owned by a 10-year-old.