This year’s wild blueberries lined my solitary walk around Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor yesterday. Today it’s fall on Mount Desert Island — not quite 70 degrees, breezy and gorgeous.
A few nights ago, sipping rather large “wild” blueberry/raspberry vodka drinks with friends at the Claremont boat house, one of my favorite places on the island, I felt a little wild. Maybe my wacky outfit says it all — yup, see the purple patent leather shoes I snagged at Marden’s for $2.99?
Have you done anything “wild” this summer? Like beauty, “wild” is in the eye of the beholder. Take Cheryl Strayed’s new book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” Hiking more than 1,000 miles alone appeals to me — in my imagination.
It took Strayed a lot longer to write the book than her six months on the trail more than 15 years ago, when she was 27. Trudging through ice and snow, carrying her humongous pack that she deemed “Monster” on her back, was a life-affirming accomplishment of the magnitude that often carries men who were soldiers through the years. Surpassing fear and surviving.
Although Strayed didn’t think she was well-organized, she was to me, thoroughly studying her guidebook, equipping herself with the proper tools and mailing new supplies to herself along the way. I was happy when she finally got the next size hiking boots. Jeez, her feet were a mess, but she kept on going. At one point she hiked in duct-tape booties!
I admire her discipline. What I admire even more was her choice to overcome fears along the way, not that she always succeeded. When the “Three Young Bucks” (hunky young guys) she befriended on the trail name her “The Queen of the PCT” because “people always want to give you things and do things for you.” Strayed realizes, “I had nothing but generosity to report.”
I like that. And at the end of her book she discovers that you may never know what you really learned until years later.