There are a lot of people who think really insightful things. Some of them, can convey them with speech, written word, or both. ( follow the link, when you get a chance. it’s better written word than what you’ll find here 🙂 For me, Jean Craighead George thought and said something really, really worthwhile. Thankfully, he wrote it down. It was delivered to me in the form of children’s fiction literature.
It wasn’t until I came across his book in grade school, that I really began to daydream about my relationship with the outside world around me. It took a story about Sam Gribley, a runaway from New York City, to show me how intimate the outdoor world could be.
I swung by my parent’s house a week or so ago, and I found the book on the shelf in my old bedroom. I find it funny that such a short book can be the reason I have practically fantasized that I was Will Smith from “I am Legend” or Tom Hanks in “Castaway.”
Long ago, David sat reading “My Side of the Mountain” and believed that could be me. I could hollow out a tree. Learn to live off that land. Find peace in the noises of the forrest. But when it came time to commit and really run away, I got only as far as those before me. I packed my ninja turtle suitcase, considered the inconvenience of having to come home to make my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
I think that is why, whenever I read about someone else’s grand, outdoor journey, get a chance to sit in the quite of the wilderness, or see a photo that transports me to a place of untouched beauty and solitude, I simultaneously feel at home and a pang of longing to be closer to the wild. Closer to the Earth and her animals. Further from fumes and concrete. I love the natural world, and always wish I could be as close to it as Sam Gribley.
If you get a chance this summer, read it again or for the first time. Maybe read or give it to a child. It has directly and indirectly given me so much joy, I can hardly believe it.
Let me take a moment to point out the title of this post. “In Which I Re-discover a Book that Changed My Life.” I didn’t say “the” book that changed my life. I acknowledge there are many more books important to me.
Do you have a book or story that impacted you unlike any other?