“I had arrived. I’d done. it. It seemed like such a small thing and such a tremendous thing at once, like a secret I’d always tell myself, though I didn’t know the meaning of it just yet.” ~ Cheryl Strayed, Wild.
Wild, the book, the author, the movie and the actress Reese Witherspoon are the rage this week as the movie based on Cheryl Strayed’s besting selling book arrives at the theaters.
Wild is the true story about a troubled young woman who tries to find answers by hiking part of the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail. And lo and behold, the author is transformed by her outdoor trek. Human history has a long record of people finding their way by walking: The Songlines (Dreaming Tracks) of the Australian Aborigines, Mose’s walk with his “Best Friend,”Gandhi’s march to the sea, John Muir’s glorious adventures of climbing Sierra Nevada trees in a storm.
When I heard Cheryl Strayed being interviewed this morning, I was astounded to hear that most of the Wild (Oregon-based) film crew had not only never hiked the Pacific Crest Trail…but had never hiked at all! Never hiked at all?! Ms. Strayed stated that some folks wouldn’t initially read her work because of the old boot on the cover indicating this is a book about hiking.
If Wild the book and/or the movie encourages folks to get outside, then she has served a great purpose. How to we successfully entice people of all ages to venture outside? When a Troutdale School Art Teacher asked his students, “How many of them had been to the local Sandy River Delta Nature Preserve?” 10 out of 120 raised their hand. I have used that quote to fundraise for grants to bring those students to the Delta to rekindle their sense of wonder and sense of place.
I have had the privilege of hiking portions of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, Oregon, and Washington. Along that trail, one can find God, become physically fit, meet incredible folks, and like Cheryl Strayed, find their way home.