“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’-Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
I think about this quote often, especially when I’m in a mood. It brings up a mix of things: guilt, humility, joy, and promise. Mostly though, repeating it like a mantra keeps my life on track. Being more aware of the fact that I only have this one wild and precious life is at times the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.
One month ago, my partner and I left the frozen tundra we call home, Boston, for the sun drenched coastal city of Sydney. He works in the field of philosophy, and I am trained as a chef and have spent the last 8 years working with food. When the professor was given the opportunity to come to Sydney for work, and graciously invited me along, there was no question I would drop everything and go. This blog exists for the memories, since I pretty much forget everything if I don’t write it down, and for you, as a sort of guide if you ever find yourself down under.
The title of this post was inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I first heard of Cheryl Strayed through her well respected Dear Sugar column on the rumpus. If you’ve never read Dear Sugar, start here. But back to Wild. Let’s put it this way; This book is so damn good, it made Oprah restart her book club just so she could share this with everyone. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the only reason she restarted the book club, but Wild was the first book.
No matter where you are in the nooks and crannies of your life, this book will move you. It will make you uncomfortable, it will beat you down, it will make you cry so hard you will wake your partner up in the middle of the night thinking something was seriously wrong (Because you just can’t put it down). She takes you with her wherever she goes, she carries you like she carried her aptly named backpack, Monster, all those miles on the trail. So you take on her pain, and her tiny, precious victories. At the end, you see the journey through her eyes, and how it had healed her. And you get just a little bit of that healing yourself.