Wild by Cheryl Strayed
“I felt like the pack was not so much attached to me as me to it. Like I was a building with limbs, unmoored from my foundation, careening through the wilderness.”
What long-distance hiker hasn’t felt like this? Trapped by a backpack that must weigh at least 200 pounds, each breath is laboured, each step is agonizing. In the summer of 1995, Cheryl Strayed sets off from the Mojave Desert to hike an 1100 mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. Winding through forests, deserts, mountain ranges, and seas of self doubt, she travels through California and Oregon and ends her journey at the Bridge of the Gods. The book is deeply personal and brutally honest. Strayed recounts her mother’s sudden death, which led to a vicious spiral of depression, drugs, and destructive behaviour. The hike is a quest to find herself, to go back to the girl she once was and to discover who she could be. The movie was also amazing, and definitely worth a watch!
Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert
Another book, but this one is a much lighter read. It’s positively breezy, in fact, but it is not the kind of book you can swallow in one sitting. Rather, it is like a book of creative psalms to be kept on your bedside table so you can dip into a few pages each night for a few gentle words of encouragement to keep making art that sucks, if for no other reason than that you will be happier, saner, and livelier for it.
After getting jarred into a ravenous mood to create something by the rousing words of Elizabeth Gilbert, you might decide to stay up all night laboring over your work, and you might want some coffee to do so. I know I do, so I have definitely enjoyed the plethora of studies lately that have indicated that coffee is actually good for its drinkers. There’s the obvious cognitive and creative benefits, but there’s also been rumors it decreases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, and mental deterioration with old age. The food scientists like to do that though. Remember a few years ago when every other week there was a new study about how chocolate was good for you! Wait, no, it’s bad for you! No, it’s actually good for you!
We love coffee and will probably always drink coffee, and so this consistency regarding coffee lately assuring us that our habit is a healthy one (or, at the very least, not an unhealthy one) just helps with the peace of mind. Thanks, science.
Speaking of coffee… my wonderful, amazing parents traveled up to Montreal for an early Thanksgiving visit and decided to spontaneously drive up to quaint, beautiful Mont Tremblant for a weekend getaway filled with delicious food, copious glasses of wine, ambitious exploring, and coffee-fueled morning walks through the woods near our lodge. I couldn’t help but giggle. Actual coffee with actual twigs. I will definitely be writing more about this sometime this week.