December 24, 2014

I felt fierce and humble and gathered up inside, like I was safe in this world too.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
By Cheryl Strayed

I've been trying to post these last passages since December 20, the day I saw the movie. I wanted to wait until I knew how exactly to describe the experience of reading this book and watching the movie, both which I did by myself. It was much like the experience of reading Tiny Beautiful Things -- of feeling that you are understood and not alone. And also in some cases, that you are lucky. That you are OK. I identified with her intense, undying love for her mother. Her passion for words. Her desire for love, sex, purpose, and adventure. Curiosity mixed with enchantment of the natural world. Her insecurities. I mean, there was even Box of Rain! A song I often looked to for comfort in my earlier 20s. Wild is a story that's as heartbreaking as it is empowering, and the latter feeling more so by the time it ends. There are tons of great passages, including some funny ones involving the people she meets on the trail. They won't be here but they are great reminders that many of the people in the world are kind and trustworthy. I wonder if I'd be so lucky if I embarked on a similar journey. 

"There were so many other amazing things in this world.
They opened up inside of me like a river. Like I didn't know I could take a breath and then I breathed. I laughed with the joy of it, and the next moment I was crying my first tears on the PCT. I cried and I cried and I cried. I wasn't crying because I was happy. I wasn't crying because I was sad. I wasn't crying because of my mother or my father or Paul. I was crying because I was full. Of those fifty-some hard days on the trail and of the 9,760 days that had come before them too.
I was entering. I was leaving. California streamed behind me like a long silk veil. 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.
(p. 233)

"It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn't have to know. That it was enough to trust what I'd done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from The Dream of a Common Language that had run through my nights and days. To believe that I didn't need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life--like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
How wild it was, to let it be."
(p. 311)

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