Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
Wild , Wild, Wild, it is nothing but reflects the wilderness the author has shown in this book. The author has narrated her story of grief and pain due to loss of her mother and how she comes to her senses by travelling alone a 1100 mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State.
She has narrated her walking and hiking journey with suspense and style so that the reader remains engaged with her narration and himself feels that he is on this journey with the author.
The author loses her mother due to cancer when she is 22 years old. The grief of losing her beloved mother wounds her so much that she decides to take divorce and inclines towards infidelity. She finally decides to go on a solo journey of Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) after 4 years of her mother’s death on her impulse to get away from her inner chaotic state of mind.
She undergoes a lot of pain and suffering due to inexperience of hiking on this long trail but in the end finally makes it. She states that it was moment of huge relief and joy when she completes this long and hard journey.I felt that the author was taking some sort of penance or punishing herself for loosing her mother to overcome her grief. The name “Wild” itself reflects her wild adventure and her wild emotions she has expressed in this book. She has so vividly expressed her raw emotions as if you will feel that they are your emotions.
The author reflects in the following words:
The wanting was a wilderness and I had to find my own way out of the woods. It took me four years, seven months, and three days to do it. I didn’t know where I was going until I got there. It was a place called the Bridge of the Gods.
It had only to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.
The key takeways from this book are-
- We will suffer infinitely when we lose any of our beloved. Somehow realizing this thought we should acknowledge our beloved and express our love right now towards them. We will do okay after their death but Grief doesn’t have a face.
- Human beings are sometimes irrational and sometimes we find our rationale by letting go of our rationalism and worldly wisdom.
- It is sometimes wise not to follow worldly path or what others think of us. We have only one life and we should decide how we are going to live it. We are not supposed to live our life by somebody’s else standard.
- It is not always wise to curb our inner wilderness. Sometimes it makes sense to relieve our wilderness in the open without thinking of the consequences.
- We come alone in this world and we will go alone. Sometimes it is wise to take solo journey to reflect our life and know where we stand apart from the world.
- Role of father and what to do if your father is not existent-
“The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse and ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.”
- Experience of dealing with strangers in the words of the author are-
Most of the people I met on the PCT passed only briefly through my life, but I was enriched by each of them. They made me laugh, they made me think, they made me go on another day, and most of all, they made me trust entirely in the kindness of strangers.
I recommend this book to read if you are interested to understand the grief and the author’s journey how she overcame her grief with deeper understanding of life and its wild ways.