A lot. Years ago I deliniated a time every day to stop everything else and read. I decided that, at 9 p.m., unless engrossed in something endlessly fascinating, I’d head to the arms of my current read. And I’ve been faithful.
The problem is no matter how much I read I’ve discovered a good book is hard to find. I rarely leave them, but I recently walked out on one mid-paragraph. I could stand it no longer! I even flung it across the room, and it by a celebrated author! So here’s only my second post on a really good book I truly loved. It is the only book I’ve ever read that, as soon as I finished, I wanted to begin again.
In 1977 a young woman in her 20s, Robyn Davidson, led and rode her four camels from Alice Springs, Austrailia west to the ocean. National Geographic funded her (a whopping $4000), and she wrote a story for them published in 1978. It took her nine months to travel the 1,700 miles. Although it wasn’t her original intent, she wrote a book on the trip called Tracks.
I know you’re thinking, “Oh, well, of course you liked it. You tried something similar. But I probably won’t find it interesting.” Okay, fair enough. I admit I found her mixed feelings about the trip extremely validating, and her experiences similar–even though my trip was short lived. But the book is very well written, engaging, and NOT WOOWOO! I have become tired of writers involking god or spirituality or some outside power as explanation of certain states. I found Robyn’s take on such experiences refreshing. Here’s a sample:
“…I now had enough to provide a structure in which I could learn to learn. A new plant would appear and I would recognize it immediately because I could perceive its association with other plants and animals in the over all pattern, its place. I would recognize and know the plant without naming it or studying it away from its environment. What was once a thng that merely existed became something that everything else acted upon and had a relationship with and vice versa. In picking up a rock I could no longer simply say, ‘This is a rock,’ I could now say, ‘This is part of a net,’ or closer, ‘This, which everything acts upon, acts.’ When this way of thinking became ordinary for me, I too became lost in the net and the boundaires of myself stretched out for ever. In the beginning I had known at some level that this could happen. It had frightened me then. I had seen it as a chaotic principle and I fought it tooth and nail. I had given myself the structures of habit and routine with which to fortify myself and these were very necessary at the time. Because if you are fragmented and uncertain it is terrifying to find the boundaries of yourself melt. Survival in a desert, then requires that you lose this fragmentation, and fast. It is not a mystical experience, or rather, it is dangerous to attach these sorts of words to it. They are too hackneyed and prone to misinterpretation. It is something that happens, that’s all. Cause and effect.”