For fun, even!
It’s kind of a big deal when this happens, because I normally fall asleep when reading and just generally don’t have the time.
While driving to Las Vegas, I had PLENTY of time!
I read Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, and I have to say it made me uncomfortable. Something about it made it hard for me to let myself into her heart. This story was an open wound, gushing every part of her past. A past that maybe I saw as a reflection of my own, and the reason I couldn’t let myself connect with her for so long.
I started reading this story over a year ago when I had heard about the movie and was really getting interested in mountains and hiking and climbing. I downloaded it to my iPad and got through about half of it, until I let other things distract me from it.
I hated her. I hated that she couldn’t get herself together. I hated the heroin addiction. I hated her for so many things. Somethings that I myself am guilty of… (Not the heroin, thank God.)
But, here I was, bored to death on a ten hour drive and having used too much data already it was time to distract my anxiety other ways. And I am so glad that I did. Cheryl chewed through the thoughts and feelings that had been weighing on her; Her mother’s death, her father’s absence, her siblings antics, all of the hardships were pounded into the trail, howled into the crisp air, or tossed over the mountainside.
If you feel like you have been in a rut for a time, perhaps this is the story for you. I won’t promise you will LOVE it, I couldn’t say that I do, but it was a story I needed to hear.
Here are my favorite quotes:
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.I decided I was safe. I was Strong. I was brave…Fear beget fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”
“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”
“Here it could be the fourth of July or the tenth of December. These mountains didn’t count the days.”
“And you’re wounded in the same place. That’s what fathers do if they don’t heal their wounds. They wound their children in the same place.”
“Foot speed was a profoundly different way of moving through the world than my normal modes of travel. Miles weren’t things that blazed dully past. they were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched. They were the sound of my breath hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole. The PCT had taught me what a mile was. i was humble before each and every one. And humbler still that day on Hat Creek Rim as the temperature moved from hot to hotter, the wind doing little more than whip the dust into swirls at my feet.”
“There wasn’t a day on the trail that monotony didn’t ultimately win out, when the only thing to think about was whatever was the physically hardest. It was a sort of scorching sure.”
“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”
“But you seemed so happy was all they could say. And it was true: we had seemed that way. Just as I’d seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.”
“That was my father: the man who hadn’t fathered me. It amazed me every time. Again and again and again. Of all the wild things, his failure to love me the way he should have had always been the wildest things of all. But on that night as I gazed out over the darkening land fifty-some nights out on the PCT, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to be amazed by him anymore. There were so many other amazing things in this world.”
“I didn’t feel like a big fat idiot anymore. And I didn’t feel like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen. I felt fierce and humble and gathered up inside, like I was safe in this world too.”
“This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had it’s heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, I couldn’t see them in my mind’s eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. hey simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began.”
“I stopped and made camp and efficiently did all the tasks that making camp required, all in an effort to get as quickly ass possible to the blessed moment when I could collapse, utterly demolished, in my tent.”
“But the thing was, I didn’t want it. Maybe I never really had. I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in. I was there now. Or close.”
“I slept on my tarp, not wanting to shelter myself on that last night, and woke before the dawn to watch the sun rise over Mount Hood. It was really over I thought. There was no way to go back, to make it stay. There was never that. I sat for a long while, letting the light fill the sky, letting it expand and reach down into the trees. I closed my eyes and listened hard to Eagle Creek. It was running to the Columbia River, like me.”
“I was thrilled by the prospect of reaching Cascade Locks and also saddened by it. I didn’t know how living outdoors and sleeping on the ground in a tent each night and walking alone through the wilderness all day almost every day had come to feel like my normal life, but it had. It was the idea of not doing it that scared me.”
That was A LOT, I know, but it was really just so good…As much as I hated it.
Any book recommendations?!