I happened across a book this summer that gave me a beautiful and helpful nugget of insight. It stated that each decade of your life is either introverted or extroverted, starting with the 20’s being extroverted, 30’s are introverted, 40’s back to extroverted and so on and so forth until the end of your days. Which helped me to understand why at 35 I haven’t felt this introverted since I was 15 years old. Hence, there has been a lot of inward journeying, cutting of cords, and alone time. But this hasn’t stopped me from reading about or wanting to take my own journey, specifically The Camino in Spain. But for now I’m reading about other women’s adventurous trailblazing.
First I read Lynne Cox’s tale of swimming with a baby gray whale in the Pacific Ocean. Grayson is filled with gorgeous descriptions of the sea and what it feels like to let it envelop every pore. Lynn is training, at 17, to swim to Catalina, and finds herself helping a lost baby gray whale find his way back to his mother. This book felt like a dream, the kind you’ve had where you wake and say did I really just swim with a whale? Here’s a little bit of Lynne’s sea writing . .
Come on Grayson. Let’s swim out there and see if we can find your mother,” I said, encouraging him, knowing he couldn’t understand a single word, but hoping he would somehow understand the thought. Words are sometimes too small, too confining to convey the depth of thought and strength of emotions. How does a whale communicate love, hope, fear or joy? He looked so small in the enormous sea and I wanted to protect him somehow. Maybe you communicate with your heart. That is what connects you to every living thing on Earth. Use your heart. It is love the surpasses all borders and barriers. It is as constant and endless as the sea. Speak to him with your heart and he will hear you.
After Grayson, a co-worker gave me Wild to read. A book I had been loathe to read for all it’s hype, but we decided to be cliché’s together – women in our 30’s reading “Wild.” Hooray for the cliché, because I loved every bit of it. Every stinking, sad, Snapple Lemonade-obsessing, funny, open moment of this journey.
As I stared at the flames I thought about Eddie, the same as I did just about every time I sat by a fire. It had been he who’d taught me how to build one, Eddie was the one who’d taken me camping the first time. He’d shown me how to pitch a tent and tie a knot in a rope. From him, I’d learned how to open a can with a jackknife and paddle a canoe and skip a rock on the surface of a lake.
There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course. But I was pretty certain as I sat there that night that if it hadn’t been for Eddie, I wouldn’t have found myself on the PCT. And though it was true that everything I felt for him sat like a boulder in my throat, this realization made the boulder sit ever so much lighter. He hadn’t loved me well in the end, but he’d loved me well when it mattered.
And a dreamy song and soundtrack I listened to while reading . .